Nick Ball kept himself in contention for a featherweight title shot by stopping an undefeated opponent Saturday night in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
England’s Ball beat South Africa’s Ludumo Lamati by 12th-round technical knockout on the Luis Alberto Lopez-Michael Conlan undercard at The SSE Arena. Lamati’s trainer threw in the towel, which caused referee Kevin Parker to stop the action in the final round.
The 5-foot-2 Ball found his way inside the taller, longer Lamati’s reach within the first few rounds and continually landed the harder punches until Lamati’s trainer had seen enough.
Ball, a Liverpool native, enhanced his record to 18-0 and produced his 11th knockout. Lamati lost for the first time as a pro (21-1-1, 11 KOs).
Lamati was taken to a local hospital for observation following his TKO defeat. His trip to the hospital caused a delay to the start of the Lopez-Conlan bout because there was not an ambulance on site for the main event.
A stiff left by Ball snapped back Lamati’s head with just over a minute to go in the final round. Ball continued to hit him with flush punches until Lamati’s trainer threw in the towel.
Lamati went down a few seconds before the 11th round ended, but it was the result of Ball pushing him. Ball’s right hand caused Lamati to hold him with about 20 seconds to go in the 11th round.
Two left hooks by Ball after he landed several other punches, including a left uppercut and a left hand, made Lamati move across the ring late in the 10th round. Ball blasted Lamati with a right hand after he followed him to the other side of the ring.
A left hand by Ball knocked Lamati into the ropes with just under 50 seconds on the clock in the ninth round.
Lamati backed Ball into the ropes and dug to his body, which caused Ball to initiate a clinch toward the end of the eighth round. Lamati held Ball after taking a right hand just after the halfway point of the eighth round.
Ball caught Lamati with a right hand up top just before the seventh round concluded. Lamati’s left to the body made Ball hold him with about 30 seconds on the clock in the seventh round.
Lamati clipped Ball with a left hook in an exchange that occurred with just over 30 seconds on the clock in the sixth round. Ball blasted Lamati with a flush left with just over a minute remaining in the sixth round.
Ball landed a left hook during an exchange a little less than a minute into the fifth round.
Lamati landed a right hand to the side of Ball’s head with just over 30 seconds on the clock in the third round.
Ball had difficulty getting inside on Lamati in the opening round, when Lamati used his jab effectively. Ball’s glove touched the canvas with just over 1:15 to go in the first round, but an entanglement caused him to lose his balance, not a punch.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.