A Doncaster boxing referee and his family have been subjected to terrifying threats since he sensationally stopped a high-profile world title fight.
Yobs have sent a barrage of abuse to the experienced referee and have also threatened him and his family on their doorstep following the controversial end to the bout between Carl Froch and George Groves.
Sources close to Mr Foster say he fears his career may be left in tatters and he may be forced to give up refereeing duties for upcoming fights as a result of the backlash.
A source close to the family said: “Howard and his family have been receiving many threats.
“He can take criticism and often he has to, but when him and his family are threatened outside their homes it has reached another level.”
Mr Foster’s decision to stop Saturday’s bout in Manchester in the ninth round was so unpopular with the crowd that he had to be hidden under a coat and smuggled from ringside by security staff.
Groves had appeared to be winning on points until the 51-year-old stepped in to award the fight to current double world title holder Froch.
Close friends fear he may be forced to pass on referee duties for the upcoming bout featuring Hatfield’s Connor Nixon at The Dome on December 6
The source added: “He’s had many good messages from top people both in and out of boxing which is good.
“But Howard now thinks he might have to pass the Dome show on December 6 onto another ref.”
It is understood Mr Foster has been banned from talking personally about the fight by the Boxing Board of Control.
However, board chief Robert Smith defended Mr Foster.
He said: “He was six inches away from the fighters, he is looking at the fighter’s eyes, and he has the health, safety and interest of the fighter at heart.
“Howard Foster is a world-class professional. Another punch could have made a massive difference to George’s career.”
Meanwhile Froch claimed the decision had saved Groves career.
He said: “Sometimes it’s a split-decision but it can be the difference between someone being seriously injured and going on to have a fantastic career.”
Groves had criticised the decision and has ordered a rematch.
South Yorkshire Police said it would treat any threats made “seriously”.