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A Star is Born – Nick Ball hints at what’s next after announcing himself on the world stage

St. George’s Day Massacre – Nick Ball destroyed Isaac Lowe under the arch at Wembley

Cometh the hour, cometh the man – on April 23 a new star was born as an unbeaten prospect Nick Ball (15-0, 7 KOs) Stole the show at Wembley in front of 94,000 fans.

Ball has been patiently waiting for his chance to announce himself on the big stage and he chose to do it in front of a sold-out capacity crowd at Wembley Arena on the largest boxing event ever staged in Europe.

The underdog smashed through bookies favorite Isaac Lowe (21-2-3, 6KOs) within six brutal, blood soaked rounds in his first ever professional title fight, to claim the vacant WBC Silver featherweight title, formerly held by four-weight world champion Nonito Grace.

‘Westgate Warrior’ Lowe came into the contest straight from a world title eliminator defeat to WBC No.7, Luis Alberto Lopez.

Ranked 13th in the world, the former English, Commonwealth and WBC International champion represented a risky step up in levels for novice, Ball, who had only fought against three winning fighters before.

Although everyone had descended upon the national stadium to watch ferocious heavyweight action, they were also treated to a fantastic battle of 126-pounders who landed heavy leather, scored scintillating knockdowns, created drama and debate, and really put on a spectacle for the capacity crowd in the country’s capital.

Both headliners, Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, promised fans a barnstormer during their build-up, but it was Lowe and Ball who actually delivered on that particular pledge.

In what was a fantastic featherweight extravaganza, ambitious Ball aggressively decked Lowe three times enroute to a savage sixth-round stoppage win.

The man himself, Tyson Fury, accompanied his good friend Isaac Lowe on his ringwalk, but it was Nick Ball who drew the crowd’s attention the most as he leaned back nonchalantly on the ropes while waiting for the biggest fight of his boxing career to begin. On the biggest stage of his life, he was looking so laid back, he was horizontal.

Far smaller in stature, Ball was giving away over five inches in height to his experienced opponent. Despite the size difference, the young underdog was the aggressor forcing the action in the opening round, both boxers scoring some shots successfully, some exciting exchanges towards the klaxons.

Not a great deal landed in the first round but the tension was palpable; it just felt like the fight could ignite at any given point. And in round two, it! A swift uppercut rocked Lowe just 30 seconds in, then he took him off his feet in the last minute; after missing with a long right, he immediately landed with the long left follow-up from down low.

Ball was just seconds away from winning, but showing maturity beyond his years, he didn’t rush his work, he stayed patient, and Lowe got through the adversity to see the third. So far, the star of the fight was Nick Ball’s crunching left hook.

Lowe rallied back, further displaying his heart and bravery, like he did in his last fight with Lopez, where he fought back from a first-round knockdown, but the next three minutes became even more difficult for Lowe, who became badly cut over his left eye, coming off worst after an accidental clash of heads. From that moment on, it was a bloodbath with both boxers bleeding heavily. Lowe’s gash above his left eye was a terrible cut and Ball was bleeding from his nose and from the top of his head.

Ball switched from orthodox to southpaw, mixed attacks from body to head, yet still used his jab to flick back the head of his foe with speed and guile. Lowe had taken some big shots but was still firing back valiantly, blood pouring profusely from his cut of him, and still neither one would take a backwards step. The doctor was called upon at the end of round four to check the laceration to Lowe’s left eye.

Knowing he needed a stoppage, with the clock ticking, Lowe tried to sink hooks in at close range, but Ball patiently absorbed a lot on his gloves, whilst countering with left hooks and uppercuts. The 25-year-old Merseysider had only seen the sixth round twice in his career, so he was heading towards relatively uncharted territory as the fight wore on.

Somehow surviving to round six, Lowe was still on the frontfoot, despite being behind, but Ball was happy to sit back and counter punch. The youngster started the round on his jab, immediately landing a triple jab to Lowe’s head in the first few seconds.

Then an awkward moment, following a clinch, found Lowe turned in the corner, facing outwards to the crowd, so with no intervention from referee, Victor Loughlin, opportunist Ball took full advantage by smashing in left hooks to the face until the fight was stopped at the same time that the towel was thrown in by the corner with just over a minute remaining in the sixth.

In just under 18 minutes, Ball transitioned from an unknown, untested prospect to world-level contender.

Lowe required 16 stitches after the fight, so will need to rest up for a while to allow that wound to heal, but he has already requested a rematch.

The 25-year-old unbeaten Ball trains with Paul Stevenson at the Everton Red Triangle gym in Liverpool, alongside Olympian Peter McGrail and Queensberry stablemates Brad Strand and Andrew Cain.

Britain’s newest boxing star reflected on the biggest victory of his life, “That experience is gonna be hard to top! I always knew what I was gonna do in there, but it was just doing Item on that show in front of that many people; it was a great opportunity and I took it with both hands didn’t I? and got all the exposure that I deserve, so I’m made up! Everyone’s been wanting pictures with me, everyone’s supporting me, it’s boss!”

His opponent was a vaster experienced foe than anyone he had ever fought before and was favored going into the fight, but Ball humbly took the time to praise him, “You can’t say he’s not tough, I hit him with some bombs in the second round and he got back up; after I dropped him, I hit him with a few more bombs and he took them.”

Lowe was respectful in defeat, but he did show his displeasure at the way the fight ended and has called for the rematch.

Ball gave his personal view on the finish to the fight, “To be honest, I shouldn’t have stepped off him. I hit him with the first left hook and then stepped off him, looked at the ref, the ref didn’t do nothing, so I went back at him; but now that I’ve watched it back, I should have hit with the left hook and carried on.

“If you watch it properly, I step off, look at the ref, and before that though his head was outside the ropes because we were on the inside and I turned him, showed him into the corner, and I waited for his head to come back into the ropes. As soon as it did, bang! clipped him with the left. Stepped off him, looked at the ref and the ref didn’t do anything, which is not my fault; in this boxing, it’s protect yourself at all times; and then I finished him with the three left hooks.”

He added, “He did turn his back, and in this boxing you can’t turn your back; I didn’t wanna know no more. To be honest, I was only in second gear, I was just getting into it, it was gonna get nasty after that!”

Despite requesting the rematch, Ball has no interest in replaying the fixture, “No, definitely not. He said in the press conference, ‘If I can’t beat Nick Ball, I need to retire’so he’s got one job to do and that’s withdraw to stick to his word.”

The biggest question on everyone’s lips is what’s next for Nick Ball now. After being mandated for the British featherweight title in last month’s BBBofC Circular, he could face the winner of this weekend’s Nathaniel Collins vs. Jacob Robinson Commonwealth title fight. ‘The Nightmare’ is defending his Commonwealth crown for a second time to newest challenger, unbeaten Welsh Area champ ‘Baby Jake’ Robinson on May 13 in Glasgow.

The British title was last held by Leigh Wood shortly before his meteoric rise to world champion in July last year. The Lonsdale belt has been vacant at 126lbs ever since.

“Obviously the British title is always a boss title to win,” Ball admitted. “As a British fighter, everyone wants to fight for it, but after going from that [WBC Silver]it is a fact that’s above British level, so you’d be taking a backward step there really, so yeah, whatever Paul [Stevenson] and Frank [Warren] think’s; whether to move on from European to World, I feel like I’m ready for that, so I’ll just do the fighting and get in with anyone.”

Whether it’s British or European challenges next, Ball revealed what the ultimate goal in his boxing career is, “Obviously, the world title! Fighting in America at Madison Square Garden, definitely; and Vegas, because I’ve got family out there.”

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