Nick Ball (9-0) returns to the ring on June 29 as he looks to take his record to 10-0 and push himself closer to his first title as a professional. Four straight stoppages have put the popular scouser on the domestic radar and at just 22, he is quickly developing into of the most exciting talents in the country.
Introduced to combat sport at the age of seven, Ball won a world title in Thai Boxing at just 14 before transitioning to amateur boxing where he also enjoyed success by winning national titles with Kirkby ABC. However, aged 16 and despite the success, Ball walked away from the sport.
“I felt like at the time I needed a break so I got a job with my dad, a joinery apprenticeship, but as time went on I knew I shouldn’t have been there. I should have been boxing, doing what I love.”
Two years after walking away, Ball approached his now head coach, Paul Stevenson, at Everton Red Triangle in Liverpool, to explore the possibility of turning over to the professional ranks.
“I wanted to get back to boxing, so I approached Paul about turning professional as I always felt my style was suited to the professional game and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made, I haven’t looked back since.”
“He has had a massive impact on me, I have learnt stuff with Paul that I didn’t think I would ever be able to learn. Every day it is something new, there are nine professionals in our gym but he trains everyone slightly differently to get the best out of everyone’s individual style. Everything he says, I do. I know I can put my trust in him.”
The improvements have been noticeable to anyone that has witnessed each fight since his 2017 debut. Despite not losing a single round, all five of Ball’s first five fights went the distance and in his sixth outing, he was matched with fellow undefeated prospect, Brian Phillips (4-0).
“In my first couple of fights, I was still shaking the rust off my two-year break so going the distance was probably a good thing. By the time the Phillips fight came around, I felt good and I was more than confident.”
The fight caught interest locally. Local media covered the fight intensely and although the rivalry between the two remained respectful for the most part, both fighters knew it was a big opportunity to announce themselves as a serious prospect.
The bout itself took just seconds to catch fire with Ball taking the fight to Phillips almost immediately and in the second round, Phillips' corner threw in the towel.
“The fight went great obviously and I learnt a lot and got the first stoppage of my career. I enjoyed the build-up and I learnt how to deal with certain things. I am always calm before fights but I learnt to just focus on myself, I don’t say things I can’t back up and, on the night, I went in there and got the job done.”
In the three fights that have followed, no opponent has heard the bell sound for the fourth round. The natural boxing ability has been evident from the beginning but it is now complimented with a ferocious work rate and Ball is punching with genuine spite.
“The stoppages have given me confidence definitely, but it is about more than that. As I say, I am learning all the time. I know what professional boxing is about now, once I get in the ring that is me in the zone. I am stepping up now to six and eight rounders’ and it is about performances and improving my record and showing people what I can do.”
As he approaches the next stage of his career, Ball will campaign at featherweight (126lbs) while setting his sights on titles and TV exposure.
“I will campaign at featherweight going forward, I will be physically strong at 126lbs and I will make it well. I have been doing super-featherweight for this early stage of my career but I can get to the 126lb limit comfortably.”
“Once I get a title fight and I get on the TV, I will show everyone what I am about. My style is made for the TV and when I do get that opportunity, I will take it with both hands.”
As the second half of 2019 approaches, do not be surprised if you begin to hear Nick Ball’s name being amongst the best featherweights in the UK.