In a packed welterweight division, an unbeaten Queensbury fighter is aiming to put on a show on Friday night and to put his name into the mix for big fights. Unbeaten midlands fighter Danny Ball (9-0-1 KO 4) will go up against fellow unbeaten prospect Sam Gilley (11-0 KO 5) live on BT Sport.
Ball conceded that both himself and Gilley were similar in styles but he’s looking forward to being back in the ring.
“I think we’re very similar in styles. I’ve just got to be cuter on the night and show what I’ve been working on for the past 16 months since I last boxed, I want to show what I’ve been working on and improving.”
Ball is in a confident mood heading into the clash.
“I’m really confident in winning the fight, even whether it goes to points, but I think I can take him out in the middle rounds.”
Gilley stepped up to the plate after contract negotiations broke between Ball and another fighter.
“I haven’t watched anything of him, I leave that down to my coaches and I have full belief and confidence in my coaches, so I leave that to them. I was scheduled to fight James Moorcroft and he pulled out of contract agreements and so Sam Gilley stepped up because he wants the chance on the big platform.”
The 23-year-old cuts a cool figure and doesn’t feel nerves will have a factor in his biggest fight to date.
“There’s always nerves there, it’s just about how you deal with them. I take it in my stride, I take everything in my stride. There are no fans so you don’t have the nerves of walking out to a big crowd, but yeah I’ll be fine with it.”
With no fans being present Ball is expecting a strange but calm atmosphere.
“I’m not too sure I don’t think having no fans will bother me too much, I know a few lads who’ve boxed with no fans and it didn’t really bother them. It’s different obviously because you can hear your corner and people around ringside, so yeah it’s something new and hopefully we won’t have to do it again.”
With small hall shows failing to return to the UK boxing scene, Ball has seen many fighters leave the sport.
“It’s put a big dent in it, and you’ve seen a lot of road warriors walk away from the sport and a lot of people have walked away due to covid because they don’t know what’s happening or when small hall shows will be back. It’s been a hard time so it will be good when we can back to some normality and get everything back because small hall shows are what make the big shows.”
Danny upset the odds in his last contest, back in October 2019, when he travelled to Ellesmere Port to stop local
lad Mason Cartwright in three rounds.
“It was good because he did a bit of trash talking towards me as well. I think he thought he’d won the fight before we even got in there. He had 400 fans in there when we fought, I think he really put it out there thinking he’d already won it so to stop him in the third, it meant a lot.”
Despite a career best performance and an upset win to boot, Ball wasn’t overly pleased with his performance.
“I’d probably rate the performance a six out of ten. I would have liked to started sharper in the first but when I got going in there look what happened, I took him out in the third.”
After the Cartwright victory whispers came that Ball would sign with Frank Warren and those whispers eventually became reality.
“After the fight with Mason Cartwright my manager got in touch and told me that Frank Warren had been in touch and was interested in signing me, but then I didn’t hear anything for four months and then in the first lockdown I got an email saying someone from Queensbury would be in touch today. I got the phone call and contract the same day and signed it there and then all in the same day. It was good because it picked the spirits up a little bit and given me something to work for and look forward too.”
It’s been a long road for Ball to get back in the ring and after 18 months out he is just ready to fight.
“I’m really happy to be out boxing because it’s been a long time since I last boxed, and I was scheduled to fight in September then October and it just kept getting prolonged, but finally I’ve got something confirmed and I’ve really got the buzz for it now. It’s horrible because you build yourself up and then you get let down, but you’ve just got to keep concentrating on the bigger picture.”
Ball feels he’s learnt a lot during the time out and is hoping to put it all together in the ring.
“I was hoping to have a good opportunity to be out regularly, defending the belt on a platform but obviously Covid put a big spanner in the works. I’ve still been working and knuckling down, learning new things and just being a sponge soaking up everything I learn from my coaches.”
Whilst Ball wasn’t willing to call anyone out if he emerges victorious on Friday night, he was willing to share
where he wants to be in a year's time.
“I don’t know because I don’t believe I’m on a platform where I can start calling people out, I’m just happy to fight whoever is put in front of me and I have 100% belief and confidence of beating anyone who is placed in front of me. In a year I would hopefully like to be pushing for a British title fight because that’s a big opportunity and a massive belt that I’d love to fight for.”
With spars with top prospects like Nathan Heaney in the bank Ball reckons he’s ready to push on to the next level.
“Training's gone brilliant, it’s gone really well my sparring's been top quality and my fitness has been at a decent level for a while now so it’s just about getting the tough rounds in and the top sparring. I’ve done a few rounds with Nathan (Heaney) for his fight. It’s been good sparring because of the physique and shape that Nathan's in, he’s sharp and he's fit, so it’s good to push and train alongside people like that.”
Ball comes from a prestigious boxing background, and after stints in the amateurs and white-collar scene he’s
ready to follow in family footsteps in the pro game.
“It was a family thing my uncle boxed and captained England in the amateurs, had 96 fights in the amateurs and won 80 something. He turned professional and was undefeated in 16 fights, and my oldest brother Jamie boxed for England as an amateur and he was undefeated as a pro as well and won a midlands title as well. So, it’s in the blood.”
What can we expect to see from Danny Ball? The man himself put it best.
“Skilful, sharp from the start and exciting at times when I need to be.”