It’s safe to say that Nick Ball passed his big test.
Ball’s fight with Isaac Dogboe - a final eliminator for the WBC featherweight title - was seen as a serious examination of Ball’s world title credentials but the way the unbeaten 26-year-old dealt with the experienced Dogboe in Manchester on Saturday night showed that he is ready for even tougher tasks.
Dogboe was far from a faded force and came to Manchester with ambitions of his own. He wasn’t afraid to engage in exchanges and tested Ball’s chin with a couple of left hooks but, overall, Ball (19-0, 11 KO’s) controlled the pace of the fight and was too physically strong for the former WBO super bantamweight champion. It was a controlled performance but still had enough of the trademark crash, bang, wallop qualities that make him so exciting to watch.
“It was a good performance from myself. I just had to keep my cool and I feel like I controlled my fight for the full twelve rounds. I’m made up with it,” Ball told TNT after the fight.
“I feel like I’ve just controlled a fight there at world level. This is world level isn’t it? It doesn’t get bigger than this apart from fighting for world titles and I’ve just put myself in position to do that. It’s only good going from here.”
Rey Vargas holds the WBC featherweight title whilst Brandon Figueroa is the Interim champion. Ball will have to wait until the title picture clears before finding out who he will face but didn’t feel the need to call either man out.
“I don’t have a message to none of them,” he said. “Me being myself, I’m not really much of a big talker. My performances do the talking so they’ll find out when I get in the ring with them.”
Ball’s promoter, Frank Warren, has been a tub thumping member of the Ball fan club and has moved him quickly since he shot to prominence by stopping Isaac Lowe 18 months ago. Bringing Dogboe over for the final eliminator was a show of faith in the Liverpudlian and the way Ball dealt with the whole event has given Warren confidence that he is more than ready for a title fight.
“He’s just become the mandatory challenger for the world title. That was a consummate, professional performance,” Warren said. “He never put a foot wrong. He was nice and composed, he controlled the fight. He’s got controlled aggression. He’s a super fighter and I love him and love watching him box. He’s there now. If it’s not his next fight, certainly the one after will be for the world title and we’ll make sure it’s over here.”