Nick Ball huffed and puffed and finally forced the stoppage against Nathaneal Kakololo 93 seconds from the final bell to hold on to his WBC silver featherweight belt, at the Copper Box, London.

Ball leapt up in many people’s opinions when he stopped Isaac Lowe on the Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte undercard at Wembley. He’s small for a featherweight and gave plenty of height to Kakololo, meaning he had to tuck up and time his attacks well.

He looks a good judge of distance as he seldom tried anything when the Namibian was moving away and instead concentrated on counterpunching or beating Kakololo to the punch when he wandered into range.

What Kakololo lacked was any great plan to open Ball up. He moved around, came forward throwing punches, but most were blocked. In the fourth round, he did bloody Ball’s nose and they both landed well when exchanging left hooks late in the round.

Ball went through the gears at the start of the fifth as he started to walk Kakololo down, winging in heavy punches and it was not long before the Namibian looked uncomfortable.

Ball landed a big left hook that wobbled Kakololo in the sixth, but the Namibian was still coming forward throwing and he withstood a persistent effort to get him out of there in the seventh round as well.

Kakololo was seriously tough, though, as he took several big shots in the eighth round and kept coming forward. Ball went for the stoppage at the start of the tenth and, after landing two good left hooks up close, Kakololo turned away in a corner, prompting referee John Latham to stop it at 1:27.

Masood Adbulah moved down to super-flyweight as he extended his unbeaten record to five fights with a hard-earned eight-round decision over Tinko Banabakov.

The Bulgarian – who was 3-0 going in - had been an experienced amateur and it showed, as he moved well behind the jab and threw decent combinations.

While Abdulah was the more aggressive throughout, he struggled to pin down Banabakov, who used distance well to cause the Londoner problems.

The fifth saw Banabakov take control, his greater accuracy, making Abdulah pay whenever he missed and he continued to have the upper hand in the sixth.

Abdulah had a good seventh round, though, as he bloodied Banabakov’s nose and landed well to the body and he continued on top in the eighth, when a series of rights hurt Banabakov, who was forced to hold on, although the Bulgarian was ultimately smart enough to stay away from trouble to see out the round.

Referee Bob Williams scored it 77-75, which looked a fair reflection.

Pierce O’Leary lived up to his nickname of Big Bang as he uncorked a big right hand to stop Spain-based Nicaraguan Robin Zamora in the second round of a super-lightweight eight.

In the first round, Zamora led O’Leary a merry dance as he kept the Irishman at range with his southpaw jab and landed a couple of clean hooks as O’Leary tried to dive in.

O’Leary closed the gap in the second, although Zamora was holding his own in the exchanges until O’Leary found the big punch to finish it.

A big right hook seemed to knock Zamora out on his feet as he dropped his hands and was left completely wide open for a follow-up. Fortunately, O’Leary hesitated, and referee Sean McAvoy was quick to weigh up the situation and wave it off at 1:01.

Zamora’s cornerman waved his arms hysterically at the referee, but it was a perfect intervention and Zamora needed to be helped back to his corner. O’Leary, 22, is now 12-0.

Big things are expected of light-heavyweight prospect Karol Itauma, who moved to 8-0 with a fourth-round stoppage of the over-matched Michal Gazdik.

Oddly both boxers were born in Slovakia, with both having both the Slovakian and UK flags on their shorts, although Itauma, 21, moved to Kent as a boy and won a gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Argentina for Great Britain.

Gazdik, who hadn’t won in his previous 19 fights having gone 6-5 in his first 11, hid behind a high guard while Itauma chipped away at him for the first round, rocking him with a right hook near the end.

The second and third rounds were more non-stop attacks from Itauma, although Gazdik was constantly moving forward smothering some of the work.

In the fourth, a sustained two-handed barrage by Itauma saw enough punches land cleanly for referee John Latham to wave it off at 0:50.

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.