There are seven exciting title fights taking place in Manchester on Saturday night but the featherweight fight between Nick Ball and Isaac Dogboe has captured the imagination of the boxing world.
At the pre-fight press conference, Ball looked perfectly at home. The unbeaten powerhouse from Liverpool has been waiting for an opportunity like this for some time. If he looked around, he saw his face emblazoned all over the backdrop and promotional photographs. If he looks through the WBC world rankings he sees his name sitting there at number one. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
Ball (18-0, 11 KO’s) is enjoying being the centre of attention and can’t wait to prove himself worthy of a title shot by winning the WBC final eliminator.
“The chance is now”
“Yeah, not half. These are the fights I’ve been waiting for. We’re at that world level now aren’t we?” Ball told 32Red. “I’m looking forward to showing everybody what I’m about and I think this is gonna be the perfect fight to put a good performance on and show everybody what I can do.
“If you know boxing and fighting, you’ll know that this only makes out for a good fight. We both box in similar styles. We both come forward and we’re both exciting fighters. It’s only gonna make for an exciting fight and I think everybody knows that. Even people who don’t really watch a lot of boxing know that. I’m one shot away from getting my chance and I’m not gonna let it slip. The chance is now.”
Boxing fans were proclaiming this fight as a potential fight of the year from the moment it was rumoured. Ball’s crash, bang, wallop style has earned him a growing army of admirers over the past 18 months and hardcore fans have been entertained by Dogboe for years. Ball hasn’t. In fact, he had to open YouTube and look the Ghanian-born fighter up when the fight was proposed to him.
“Being honest with you, I’ve never put the boxing on and watched him,” he said. “I’ve never seen him fight. I only heard about him when I was moving up the rankings with the WBC. I moved to number one and he was two and it got talked about us fighting. When it got signed I put his last fight on and watched three rounds of it. That’s all I’ve seen of him.
“It was enough to make a judgement on him because I don’t really tend to focus on the opponent, Id rather focus on myself. I watched three rounds, saw enough and turned it off.”
“Dogboe is gonna find out what it’s like”
Dogboe has only been beaten by the very best. He lost twice to the Mexican star Emanuel Navarette – once on points and once by twelfth round stoppage – and was beaten on points by the brilliant Cuban, Robeisy Ramirez, in a bid for the WBO world title in April. Given the company he has kept, Dogboe will have absolutely no fear of stepping into the ring with the comparatively untested Ball on Saturday. For his part, the Liverpudlian isn’t exactly overawed by Dogboe’s CV.
“I look at it like he’s not been in the ring with me yet and he’s gonna find out what that’s like,” Ball said. “I don’t know if he’s underestimating me by saying I’m not world class or whatever but he’s gonna find out soon. I’m not like those fighters. They’re tall and skinny or whatever their styles are. I’ve got a completely different style and I’m gonna show him that it’s different.”
Leigh Wood’s decision to leave the featherweight division probably means that WBC champion, Rey Vargas, is seen as the best 126lb fighter in the world. A fight with Vargas would give Ball the opportunity to not only accomplish his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion or a belt holder, it would give him the chance to be seen as the number one featherweight in the world.
“The man. I believe I am the man and now it’s time to show it. You need to show it on the world level and I’ve got the opportunity to do that. I’m gonna take it with both hands. In my eyes, the green and gold WBC belt is the best belt in boxing. That’s the one everybody wants and I’m not looking past anyone but I’m in touching distance of it.
“All the hard work over the years is paying off. This is it. There’s no holding back. I’m not gonna fold now.”