Tonight in Manchester, on the “Magnificent 7” Card, unbeaten British featherweight Nick Ball scored the biggest and most important win of his career so far in defeating former WBO super-bantamweight champ Isaac Dogboe. In a fight that was a final eliminator for the WBC featherweight title, Liverpool’s Ball won by commanding scores of 118-109, 119-108, and 116-111.
Now 19-0(11), 26-year-old Ball was pretty special tonight. Dogboe, as tough as he is experienced, more than played his part in what was a truly engrossing, at times dramatic fight, in falling to 24-4(15).
Ball, without doubt, a strong candidate for being the most exciting lower-weight fighter in British boxing today, showed so much tonight. We fans who had seen Ball fight before knew about his punch output, his incredible engine, and his aggressive approach, and tonight, Ball showed it all, along with a good chin when he needed it. Ball needed his solid chin in round two, this when African tough guy Dogboe cracked him with a stiff left hand at the end of the session. Ball was knocked backward but he took the shot well.
In the third, Ball appeared to go down, this from a Dogboe right hand. But referee Victor Loughlin ruled it no-knockdown. Ball may have got a break here. Then, in the fourth, the third man had another dodgy moment, as Ball was credited with a knockdown, this as it looked for all the world as though he had merely pushed Dogboe down.
The superb fight was not spoiled by poor officiating, though, and both men rumbled all the way to the final bell. Ball’s astonishing stamina was, well, astonishing, his punch output never really dipping. Dogboe, who knew how and when to tuck up when he had to, was also keen to test Ball’s body with some hard shots. Dogboe, the older man by three years, did look tired by the ninth, but he sucked it up.
Ball then had to take some hard shots in the 9th, this when Dogboe caught him at the end of the round. The fight was not over with yet. But Ball, who, as the saying goes, ticked all the boxes tonight, was still full of fire at the end.
Dogboe was always dangerous, and Ball’s nose did bleed, but there was no doubt about who the winner was come the final bell. Ball was superb tonight, as was the fight itself.
Ball now looks forward to a shot at the WBC world title, and who is willing to say the Liverpool warrior won’t win it? Ball is a thrill to watch; he can dish it out as well as take it, and Ball can go all night long. In short, there is nothing not to like about Ball, a humble, respectful fighter who does his talking in the ring.
Dogboe lost by a wide margin tonight, but the former champ showed he has quite a bit left in the tank still. But tonight was Ball’s night, and we fans cannot wait to see this 5’3” ball of fire back in action.