1972-09-26 Bob Foster w co 14 (15) Chris Finnegan, The Arena, Wembley, London, England - WORLD

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1972-09-26 Bob Foster w co 14 (15) Chris Finnegan, The Arena, Wembley, London, England - WORLD. Referee: Roland Dakin. After being subjected to heavy punches at the start of the contest Finnegan (173¾) came back hard and effectively to give the champion plenty of trouble. The former Olympic champion was right back in the fight, matching Foster (174½) up until the tenth when he was floored by a heavy right to the head and forced to take a count of ‘eight’. Finnegan’s southpaw blows to head and body still bothered Foster, but the latter was getting on top. By the 13th, although Finnegan, now cut around both eyes, was still exchanging blows with Foster he was beginning to wilt under the pressure, and after 55 seconds of the 14th the Englishman was dropped by a vicious right to the jaw and counted out. It had been a valiant attempt, with Finnegan matching the champion blow for blow at times.

Following this defence Foster was allowed time out to take on Muhammad Ali for the NABF heavyweight title, but was knocked out inside eight rounds on 21 November. Suitably rested, Foster was talking up a defence against Jimmy Dupree for March 1973, but after that appeared to die a death by early April he was being asked to defend against the number-one contender, Pierre Fourie.

Negotiations for this fight to take place in South Africa had been ongoing for six months. However, for it to happen the Government would have to change the clause in the Boxing Act which prohibited whites from fighting non-whites. When it was recognised that the Government were not going to act the promoters looked at Swaziland as a replacement venue, but by that time Foster’s management team were looking towards a defence on home territory. At this stage the WBA demanded that the pair meet, regardless, and towards the end of June a match was finally agreed for New Mexico on 21 August.