Britain’s new world champion Nick Ball insists ‘this is only the start’ after shining in Saudi… as the Liverpool featherweight targets unification bouts and a dream fight at Anfield

Liverpool featherweight Nick Ball achieved his dream of becoming a world champion on the historic 5 v 5 card between Queensberry and Matchroom fighters earlier this month, and believes he is only just getting started.

On a night that Queensberry dominated which concluded with two heavyweight knockouts, Ball was involved in the best fight as he went toe-to-toe with America’s Raymond Ford and came out on top.

Three months on from being held to a controversial draw by Rey Vargas when the WBC title was on the line – in a fight most observers felt Ball did more than enough to win after scoring two knockdowns – the Brit refused to be denied on this occasion.

Taking on WBA champion Ford, Ball came through a bloodied nose after taking a heavy shot in the seventh round to emerge victorious via split decision.

Reflecting on the biggest night of his career to date, Ball revealed how he dealt with his moment of crisis, before admitting he is already looking ahead to what’s next.

Nick Ball was crowned WBA featherweight champion in Saudi Arabia earlier this month
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Nick Ball was crowned WBA featherweight champion in Saudi Arabia earlier this month

Ball came through a gruelling battle with Raymond Ford (left) and is already looking ahead

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Ball came through a gruelling battle with Raymond Ford (left) and is already looking ahead

‘It was a good shot, but at that point what was going through my head was that I’ve took his best now, that was his best shot, I’ve took his best,’ Ball explained to Mail Sport.

‘I’ve told him to come on, to keep going, and I think it broke his heart to be honest. He didn’t really know what to do with me, that’s how I felt in the ring.

On the possibility of adding another belt to his collection, Ball added: ‘That would be nice, getting a unification. I feel like that could happen.

‘I want that green and gold belt. That should be mine anyway but I definitely want to get that and then push on to whatever’s next. But I feel like this is only the start. Keep pushing on and maybe move up the weights. Get the belts at my weight and then become [a] multi-weight [champion], then just keep going.’

The Vargas draw is the only blot on Ball’s professional record, with the 27-year-old having won his other 20 fights, 11 inside the distance.

Getting another chance to become a world champion so quickly against Ford eased some of the pain, but Ball could not hide that he is desperate for another shot at Vargas, and this time has no intention of leaving it to the judges.

‘100 per cent, I want that rematch and right the wrong because it was definitely wrong what happened in that fight,’ Ball said.

Ball was held to a controversial draw by Rey Vargas (left) back in March
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Ball was held to a controversial draw by Rey Vargas (left) back in March

Ball was denied victory despite knocking Vargas down twice, and wants to right that wrong
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Ball was denied victory despite knocking Vargas down twice, and wants to right that wrong

‘But it’s in the past so I want to fix that and get the belt in style.’

After receiving his WBA belt, Ball was seen sharing a heartwarming moment with his family as they celebrated together at ringside.

Ball dedicated his victory to his loved ones, and claimed he would want to make his Liverpool-supporting family even happier by one day fighting at Anfield.

‘That was a special moment because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing or I wouldn’t be where I am without them and without all the people around me,’ Ball admitted.

‘So, that’s special and that’s what it really comes down to. That’s the only things that matters really, so it was very special for me and for them as well because they’ve put hard work into me over the years and still to this day.

‘They’re helping me get to where I want to get to, and then for them to see it pay off, it’s a special moment for all of us.’

Ball is from a family of Liverpool fans, and would love to fight at Anfield (pictured) one day
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Ball is from a family of Liverpool fans, and would love to fight at Anfield (pictured) one day

Asked whether an Anfield bout appealed to him, Ball replied: ‘That would be good, my dad would love that! 100 per cent.’

Ball has been compared to a mini-Mike Tyson due to his fighting style of getting his 5ft 2in frame on the inside and ripping home punches against his taller opponents.

Fighting twice in three months is also the attitude of a throwback fighter, and reminiscent of Tyson in his hey-day when he swatted his rivals aside with ease on a regular basis.

But does Ball fancy a break after back-to-back gruelling fights? Not a bit of it.

He returned to the gym just 10 days after his win over Ford, and insisted ‘I’m ready to go’.

Ball's fighting style has been compared Mike Tyson when he was dominating the heavyweight division
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Ball’s fighting style has been compared Mike Tyson when he was dominating the heavyweight division

Ball wants to remain active like Tyson in his hey-day and is ready to take on any challenge
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Ball wants to remain active like Tyson in his hey-day and is ready to take on any challenge

His last two fights have come in Saudi Arabia, and Ball is happy to return to the Middle East again or have a homecoming bout in the UK.

His no-nonsense approach is a refreshing one. He just wants to fight, and knows he delivers value for money whenever he gets in the ring.

Ball has developed into one of Britain’s most exciting fighters, and the best could still be yet to come.

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