Rising featherweight star Nick Ball eyeing December ring return

Rising featherweight star Nick Ball eyeing December ring return

Published On Wednesday, October 21, 2020By Tim Rickson

‘Back to December’ – Nick Ball is fighting fit and ready for the call-up

Undefeated featherweight Nick Ball (13-0, 6KOs) is optimistically aiming for a December fight to finish this tumultuous year on.

The talented youngster signed contracts with Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren in February, along with teammates Andrew Cain (6-0, 6KOs) and Brad Strand (4-0, 1KO), and debuted under the Queensberry Promotions banner together on the undercard of Lyndon Arthur’s Commonwealth light-heavyweight title defence to Dec Spelman on July 31, behind closed doors at the BT Sport Studios in London.

After stopping six of his last seven foes, Ball was taken the eight-round distance for the first time in his career when up against fellow unbeaten fighter Jerome Campbell (6-1, 1KO), who was defeated convincingly 79-72 by Ball to reach his 13th victory in just over three years as a pro.

Almost three months on, the featherweight prospect provided an update on his pro career, “Still in training, just waiting for a fight date. After the last fight, Francis [Warren] said he would try to get us back out in December. Hopefully, we’ll get a call this week.”

A former Junior ABA champion, who won 23 from 25 amateur fights, Ball trains alongside six other unbeaten prospects at the century-old Everton Red Triangle Gym in Liverpool with head coach, Paul Stevenson.

After lockdown lifted, the talent-packed ERT Gym opened its doors again in July and the boxing club has been highly active ever since, with Olympian Peter McGrail also training there.

“We were back in three days at first, but now it’s back to five days a week,” Ball confirmed. “All the lads are back in, so it’s busy, just been really good. We’re back in full training as if we are fighting in December.”

After the events of lockdown and the ongoing uncertainties, Nick and his teammates have stayed in the gym and kept fit, knowing that another opportunity could present itself at any moment.

“Not just outside, but inside the gym there were slight changes,” Ball began. “We kept fit – me, Brad and Andrew – we had our fights and didn’t put any weight on afterwards, got straight back in the gym again, so we’re fit to go and staying around our fight weight, so that way we was able work on technique with Paul instead of spending time getting fit and losing weight, so it’s been good for things like that.”

Ball, Cain and Strand were all fortunate to have signed contracts with a TV promoter shortly before lockdown, but their other four teammates – Connor Butler; Jonathan Walsh; Harry Woods; Jack McKinlay – have not yet penned such deals.

“I could imagine it would be hard for them now, as there’s no chance they’re getting a fight soon, but all the lads in the gym, we’re all the same but all different, if you get me?

“We’re all strong and carry on training, but we’ve got no choice but to be strong. If you start slacking off, then get a date, you’ll be miles behind. You can’t have a sulk and feel sorry for yourselves, everyone is going through the exact same thing, it’s worldwide, people are losing jobs, places are closing up; you can’t become weak minded.

“It’s not really difficult when you haven’t got anything to focus on, you just got to tell yourself you have got to something to focus on, but you have really because it’s your whole career you’re looking towards, not just one fight. Just because you haven’t got a fight date, you don’t need to be laying off the training.”

Aged just 23, part of a gym with an average age of professional fighters of only 24-years-old, the talented septet are all incredibly mature and mentally strong for their age.

Nick attempted to explain why, “Probably because of where we live in Liverpool, the way I am myself and the people around me. Paul [Stevenson] is a big influence, he works on your mind and adds that bit knowledge and wisdom when you need it.

“But I’ve been doing this fighting since I was seven, people think I’ve only been around a few years or so, but I’ve been doing it all my life, so I know what it’s like. Nothing is promised and you’ve got to have a strong mind.”

Stablemate Carly Skelly is the only one of the eight fighters managed by Paul Stevenson that does have a fight date coming up.

Although Skelly doesn’t train at the ERT Gym, she visits regularly for sparring with the likes of Conor Butler and even heavy-handed Andrew Cain.

Nick commented on her chances of winning the Commonwealth super-bantamweight featherweight title in her forthcoming championship clash with Amy Timlin on the Usyk-Chisora Box Office event on Halloween night, “She’s got a massive opportunity there hasn’t she? I don’t know too much about the other girl, but if I know Carly, she’s tough and doesn’t back down.

“I’ve seen her sparring the lads in the gym and they aren’t soft! I’ve seen them put it on her and she doesn’t back off, she’s tough!”

News of Nick's next fight will be updated shortly.

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