Tuesday, June 18, 2024  |


Could O’Shaquie Foster’s success motivate Misael Lopez to contention?

Featherweight Misael Lopez (right) on the attack against James Wilkins. Photo by Dave Mandel/ Showtime
Fighters Network

Misael Lopez does not have to look far for motivation.

As if wanting to be the best at 126 pounds is not enough, Lopez can look at what fellow “ShoBox” veteran O’Shaquie Foster has done thus far, especially winning the vacant WBC junior lightweight title.

“It’s great to see him overcome setbacks to finally win a world title belt,” said Lopez.

Lopez can continue on that path toward contender status with a win over Edward Vazquez tonight at Stormont Vail Event Center, in Topeka, Kansas. The 10-round bout will precede the main event between junior middleweight prospects Andreal Holmes and Ismael Villarreal.

Both fights will air live on Showtime (9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT).

At Thursday’s weigh-in, Lopez weighed in at 124.4 pounds. Vazquez weighed 125.2 pounds.

Lopez (14-1, 5 knockouts), who is originally from Agua Prieta, Mexico, and now resides in Denver, Colorado, most recently fought on September 23, defeating prospect Orlando Gonzalez by unanimous decision. Gonzalez was the favorite going into the fight but Lopez was confident to not allow Gonzalez to utilize his skill set and force him to fight his fight.

“Experience and conditioning played a role in that fight,” Lopez told The Ring Wednesday night. “It was a good style matchup in our favor. I think Gonzalez thought I was going to sit there in the pocket and trade. I think he underestimated me. He thought this was going to be a walk in the park for him. We saw, in film, he would throw the same combinations, so we had great preparation in camp to counter that. We just used angles and we were able to outbox Gonzalez and get a great win.”

The 26-year-old will face a fighter in Vazquez, who is in the same situation. Vazquez (13-1, 3 KOs) also has one loss on his record, a close split decision to Raymond Ford, in February of last year, in a fight many thought Vazquez did enough to win.

Lopez understands the importance of tonight’s fight and is not looking past Vazquez.

“I’m looking at this as any other title fight,” said Lopez, who is promoted by Lou DiBella. “We are both close to becoming contenders. One win could put us closer to that goal. Vazquez is a tough fighter who comes forward. That’s why (trainer) Manny Robles designed a game plan against him that we know will be successful. All we have to do is follow that game plan.”

Tonight will be Lopez’s first fight under the tutelage of Robles. Lopez, who had an amateur record of 50-5, has been impressed with what Robles has brought to the table.

“The biggest thing that has struck me working with Manny has been his professionalism,” said Lopez. “He runs a quality camp and expects a lot from his fighters. Going to train in Southern California (where Robles’ gym is located) has been the best decision I’ve made. Everything from shadowboxing to mitt work, Manny watches over you and makes sure you do things the correct way.”

Lopez is managed by Jerry Casarez, who also manages strawweight titleholder Seniesa Estrada and represents former WBO junior lightweight titlist Jamel Herring. He believes he has been blessed with being represented by someone that has looked after his career.

“Jerry has been great. He takes care of the business aspect of my career and I do my thing in the ring. I’m amazed by the connections he has. Jerry has followed through on everything that he has said he is going to do. It’s a blessing and I’m excited to know what we are capable of doing.”

An impressive win could put Lopez in a position for bigger opportunities later this year. He looks at what ShoBox has been able to do for Foster, who became the 88th fighter to appear on the popular series and become a major titleholder.

Although Lopez is in a competitive division and is still not yet close enough to fighting for a world title, he does see parallels between his career and that of Foster, further giving him more motivation.

Junior lightweight O'Shaquie Foster (right) fires a southpaw jab at unbeaten Spaniard Jon Fernandez. Photo by Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

Junior lightweight O’Shaquie Foster (right) fires a southpaw jab at unbeaten Spaniard Jon Fernandez. Photo by Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

“I first met O’Shaquie when we appeared on a ShoBox card [in September 2017]. We were both the B-side and fighting unbeaten fighters. He beat Jon Fernandez and I beat James Wilkins. I’m really happy for him.

“[Appearing on] ShoBox motivates me. I have one win and one loss (on ShoBox, which came against Jordan White in March 2021). I’m a better fighter today and I have a better mindset. I’m confident in winning the rubber match.”

Opening tonight’s ShoBox broadcast is an eight-round junior welterweight bout between Kurt Scoby of New York City and Australia’s John Mannu, both of whom are unbeaten.



Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected].