Liverpool’s Nick Ball would like a rematch with Rey Vargas after winning the WBA featherweight title on Saturday night. The new champion took the belt from Raymond Ford on a split decision after a pulsating, high quality 12-rounder in Saudi Arabia and, in the aftermath, immediately set his sights on the WBC boss who held Ball to a draw in March.

“I am coming for my belt,” Ball said of that famous WBC strap. Many observers felt he deserved the decision over Vargas when they clashed in March. “Everyone knows it’s my belt, the green and gold.”

The victory over Ford was another close affair.  

“I had to dig deep to get the job done and I knew that’s what it would take,” he said. “There was no way I was going to go home without the belt again, it would have taken something special to beat me tonight.”

The classy Ford struggled to keep up with Ball, 20-0-1 (11 KOs), in the early going but retained his composure under pressure. A sweeping left hand bloodied the Englishman’s nose in round seven, triggering a second half fightback from the southpaw.

“He caught me with a good shot,” Ball said. “He’s really tough and a good boxer but I feel like it was only one round, maybe two [when Ford was in the ascendency], then I was back in control. I felt good in there, I enjoyed it.”

Even so, after the heartache of the Vargas decision still fresh in his mind, Ball wasn’t certain that the judges would favour him in Riyadh.

“With boxing you never know, you can never be sure,”  I was taking shots on the gloves, they were not going to stop me.”