Raymond Ford lost his WBA featherweight title in his first defense to Nick Ball in a closely contested bout.

Ford (15-1-1, 8 KOs) was pipped on a split decision at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with two judges scoring the fight 115-113 for Ball and one judge scoring it 115-113 for Ford. It was that kind of contest.

Ford had spoken of moving up in weight after winning the vacant title in March against Otabek Kholmatov. The 25-year-old instead decided to defend his title against the 27-year-old Ball (20-0, 11 KOs).

“Hope y’all enjoyed the fight, props to Nick Ball, nothing but respect. Gave it all I had today. Off to 130 [junior lightweight],” Ford tweeted after the fight.

“My energy still the same and I still stand on what I said. I’m coming to 130 for them belts, meet me there.”

Ford did not rule out a rematch with Ball in the future, acknowledging that the bout left viewers divided over the winner but only in a higher weight class.

“If Nick Ball moves up, I’ll be chasing a rematch. I’m not chasing it now because I’m not killing myself to make 126 no more. I know what I can do and I know I'm still that guy,” Ford said.

“All a part of MY story. See y’all soon,” Ford tweeted.