Nick Ball Secures WBA Featherweight Title in Riyadh

Scouse Supremacy: Nick Ball’s Triumph in Riyadh

Nick Ball wasn’t to be denied a featherweight title this time around. The determined Brit edged out Raymond Ford to claim the WBA featherweight title via split decision. All three judges scored the bout 115-113, with two favouring Ball and one for Ford, in a thrilling contest at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Queensberry Clean Sweep

Ball’s victory marked a significant achievement for Queensberry Promotions, pushing them to a 2-0 lead over Matchroom Boxing in Saturday’s 5-vs-5 tournament. With this win, Ball (20-0-1, 11 knockouts), ranked No. 4 at 126, made a statement after being denied the WBC featherweight title in the same venue just three months prior. His previous bout ended in a draw against Rey Vargas, a decision many felt should have gone Ball’s way.

Picture:IMAGO

Lessons Learned and Battle Fought

In this latest fight, Ball showcased his growth and determination. “I let the early rounds slip away,” Ford admitted post-fight, acknowledging his tactical missteps. Ball seized the early momentum, shaking off Ford’s initial body attacks and closing the gap to counter Ford’s five-inch height advantage.

Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs), ranked No. 7 at 126, managed to ramp up his pace in the middle rounds despite suffering a cut near his left eye. The intensity only escalated when a left hand from Ford drew blood from Ball’s nose in the seventh round.

Climactic Conclusion

The final rounds saw a dramatic shift in momentum. Ford relied on his long jab and left hand in the tenth and eleventh rounds, but Ball was relentless. The twelfth and final round turned into a slugfest, with both fighters exchanging heavy blows. Ball briefly stunned Ford, who then responded with a powerful uppercut that wobbled Ball. Despite this, Ball roared back, trading shots with Ford until the final bell.

Two judges favoured Ball’s aggression, awarding him his first major professional title. This victory is the latest in a series of impressive performances, including his twelve-round win over former 122-pound titlist Isaac Dogboe last November in Manchester.

Ford’s Reflection and Future

Raymond Ford, while disappointed, showed sportsmanship, acknowledging his need to move up in weight. “It was time to move up,” Ford conceded, noting the struggle to make weight even during his previous title-winning effort. Ford claimed the WBA featherweight title with a dramatic 12th-round knockout over Otabek Kholmatov in March, a fight that, like Saturday’s, is a 2024 Fight of the Year contender.

This distance win awarded one point to Queensberry Promotions in their ongoing tournament. Each team earns one point for a decision victory and two points for a knockout, with team captains receiving double points for a win.

Nick Ball’s triumph is not just a personal victory but a testament to the prowess and determination of British boxing, signalling the rise of a new British world champion and underscoring the Scouse supremacy in the sport.

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