By Paul Kelly
After the successful return of boxing on British soil earlier this month, Liverpool’s Nick Ball is excited to get back in the ring for the first time in five months.
The 23-year-old last fought in his hometown at the end of February, making his opponent retire after the first round. Since then, the British super-featherweight has had to bide his time for his return to the ring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve carried on training and stayed focused, just kept training through it and seen it out. If I had stopped training I’d probably have gone insane, so I’ve just kept on training and kept myself fit and ready for an opportunity that comes up, and one’s come up so lockdown hasn’t been too bad for me.”
As previously mentioned, Ball hasn’t been in the ring for five months, since fighting at the Grand Central Hotel in Liverpool. Despite this being a long time for a young professional to be out the ring, the scouser believes this will have no effect on him come fight night.
“It will only have an effect on you if you think it have an effect on you. I’ve been training in the gym, I’ve been sparring since we were allowed to start sparring again, and I’m sharp. I’ve been sharp and I’m ready to fight again. I think a little break has been a help for me, and now I’m definitely ready to fight again.”
In terms of opposition for Ball, he is up against another undefeated fighter in Jerome Campbell who boasts a record of 6-0 (1), and will certainly believe he can extend his unblemished record in three days time.
This is the second time that Ball will be facing an undefeated opponent. In just his sixth fight, he stopped Brian Phillips (4-0 at the time) in the second round. Ball himself admits it will be a tough test against another hungry, undefeated fighter, but believes he has what it takes to beat the 29-year-old.
“I don’t know a lot about him to be honest. When my coach mentioned him I didn’t know of him. Obviously we had a look at him and he seems good. I don’t really know much about his style, he’s tall, he might be more of a boxer, I’m not too sure but we’ll figure that out on the night and it should be a good fight.”
Ball has been chomping at the bit to get back in the ring as soon as possible, and believes that all the hard work he has put in during lockdown, will reap rewards come Friday night.
Although boxing is back, the ring is the same, the preparation is the same and the actual fighting will be the same, the lack of a crowd will be something totally new for the 23-year-old.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be fighting in 2020 so I’m made up to be honest, just to be getting a fight. It will be very different without fans, but everyone has to deal with that so it won’t bother me.
“Obviously, the people who come and watch me, they’ll be gutted because they wanted to come and see me fight, but that’s just the whole world at the minute and everyone is going through it, so you’ve just got to work around it.”
The Liverpudlian is currently 12-0 as a professional, with 6 of those wins coming inside the scheduled distance. In what will be the thirteenth fight of Ball’s career, it will be the first time he performs live on television. Despite the added pressure of fighting in front of a large televised audience, the scouser is excited to showcase his skills to the world.
“This is the opportunity I’ve been wanting. Without sounding big headed, I think my style is very much TV friendly. It will excite people, it will get people off their seat and they will enjoy it. My style is all action, I’m not coming to throw tippy-tappy shots and play games. I’m coming to get straight to it.”
Ball sees Friday night as a massive opportunity to showcase his skills on a huge platform. The unbeaten prospect is grateful for the opportunity, and is eager to show the fans what he brings to the table and why he is a force to be reckoned with in the super-featherweight division.
“This is a positive because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I thought boxing would have been the last thing to get up and running with there being all the ambulances and the medics having to be there. It’s good for us, so as I said, I’m made up to be fighting again so soon.”
Ball is currently ranked eleventh in Britain, and believes he deserves a shot at the British Title in the not so distant future. Anthony Cacace is currently the British super-featherweight champion, but Ball would relish an opportunity to fight for the Lonsdale Belt.
“I don’t know what’s happening with that [British Title], whether it’s getting vacated or what’s happening, but I’d love to have the opportunity to fight for that. I’ll see what opportunities come up but I’d love to fight for these sort of titles now. I feel like I’m more than ready for these challenges now.”
Ball will be hoping to impress on his first televised bill, and promises to deliver a stand-out performance on Friday night.
“Expect all action. Don’t take your eyes off the TV.”