Hours after an event which left fans shocked as Tyson Fury was dropped by MMA fighter Francis Ngannou and edged a razor-thin split decision in their Saudi Arabia non-title fight, which was less than exemplary for boxing, O’Shaquie Foster and Rocky Hernandez provided the polar opposite in Cancun as two lesser-known fighters fought their hearts out away from all the glitz and glamour in an unheralded Mexican sports hall for the super featherweight world championship.
2023 Round Of The Year In Cancun, Mexico
O’Shaquie Foster had to go to the challenger’s backyard in Mexico to make the first defence of his 130-pound title against the heavy-handed Rocky Hernandez.
Through ten rounds the contest was pretty much dead level and neither man could be sure who would walk out with the belt heading into a brutal eleventh.
Hernandez was on the backfoot at the beginning of the penultimate round looking to engage as infrequently as possible as the bout had clearly taken more out of him than the American at this stage.
The Mexican leapt in off-balance and was caught by a right hook and left hand forcing him onto the ropes, Foster unloaded on him and Rocky did what he knew best, fight fire with fire.
On the verge of being stopped, Rocky found a backhand from somewhere that completely changed the momentum and pushed Foster onto the ring ropes.
It was an unbelievable turnaround, with Hernandez in a stronger position now as the pair traded on the ropes but both were taking heavy shots in the exchanges.
The Mexican hurt Foster in the last forty seconds with a right hand that promoted the crowd to cheer Rocky on to try and force a stoppage.
Image: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing