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Queensberry vs Matchroom 5v5: Nick Ball becomes world champion

Ball is England’s second current male world champion, joining WBO cruiserweight belt holder Chris Billam-Smith.

At just 5ft 2in, the challenger gave away five inches of height but with his quick feet and stocky build, he pressured Ford early on.

The more accurate work was coming from Ford but Ball’s high punch output – even though not everything was landing – may have grabbed the judges’ attention in some close early rounds.

Ford, 25, sustained a cut to his right eye in the third and Ball added insult to injury with a chopping overhand left in the fourth.

‘Wrecking’ Ball began to assert his dominance, living up to his alias. Warren jumped out of his seat as his man landed two sublime uppercuts in the fifth.

The New Jersey fighter was cut to his left eye – but Ford, who won the title with a dramatic 12th round stoppage win over Otabek Kholmato in March having been down on the cards – is not one to sleep on.

The tide began to turn in the seventh as Ford whipped in a terrific long left hook. Ball – bleeding from the nose – backtracked for the first time in the fight.

“He’s hurt, he’s hurt, his nose is busted,” promoter Hearn shouted.

Ford grew in confidence and began to bridge the gap as the fight headed towards the championship rounds.

With his white shorts stained with blood, Ball had slowed down with his attacks and the tight rounds became harder to score.

The champion asked his corner if he was winning before the final round.

“We don’t know,” they responded.

Eyeing up a knockout punch that would earn their promoter a bonus point, both fighters continued to trade leather right up until the final bell of a sensational match-up.

“It’s how you recover and come back – that’s a true champion and that’s what I am now,” a jubilant Bell said, adding that he is “ready” to add more titles to his collection.

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Written by Joseph

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