Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions announced the undercard for the upcoming all-British heavyweight showdown between Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte on April 23rd at Wembley Stadium this week, including a featherweight clash between Fury’s stablemate Isaac Lowe and Liverpool’s Nick Ball, who is undefeated in his first fourteen professional fights.
Ball spoke to BBTV this week ahead of what he described as a one-time opportunity to show those who are not aware of his career what they’ve been missing. ‘I’m excited to go. It’s been hard to keep it a secret’. When asked for his reaction when he first heard about the fight, Ball said, ‘it was a no brainer. Paul [Stevenson, at Everton Red Triangle ABC in Liverpool] came into the gym and said about the fight. I was like, that’s a bit of me. I’ve been waiting for opportunities like this for my whole life, this is why you get into the sport, so it was a no brainer to take it with both hands’.
Lowe suffered his first professional defeat last time out at the hands of tough Mexican Luis Alberto Lopez, a fight Ball watched live on TV. When asked about whether he has spent time going over Lowe’s previous performances in preparing for the fight, the twenty-five-year-old was confident. ‘To be honest, not really, no. Paul probably has but I don’t know much about him [Lowe]. I’ve heard his name and watched his last fight without knowing I would be fighting him next, but that’s the only footage I’ve seen’.
The fight will conclude a busy spell for the Everton Red Triangle gym in Merseyside, Ball one of a number of fighters set to fight over the next two weeks. ‘They’re all made up [about the Lowe fight]. Everyone’s fighting within a week of each other, Brad and Andrew on the 16th, Peter and Joe on the 22nd which is the day before me on the 23rd. It’ll be a busy few weeks coming up but it’s what we’ve worked for’.
The bout is no doubt the pick of the bunch on the undercard at Wembley, but that has not prevented a wealth of criticism online in response to the announcement this week. Ball is dismissive of any criticism however, choosing to instead focus on the remainder of his training camp before the biggest fight of his life. ‘I was looking at it [the criticism online], but they haven’t really seen much of me. I’m not really known as I’ve been held back and haven’t really been on these big shows whereas he has, he’s got the following. I’m only fourteen fights in and haven’t had the exposure I need but now I’m going to get it. I wouldn’t underestimate the fight but you’re going to get that on Twitter. Just leave them to it’.
Ball momentarily paused for reflection when asked about whether he felt any pressure for the fight to deliver due to the criticism this week before re-emphasising the faith he has in himself to perform on the biggest of stages. ‘I know regardless that with me in the ring, it will be a good fight. There is no pressure but even if there is, pressure makes me perform better, so you can have all the pressure you want. It’s only going to make me better, not worse’.
‘I’m buzzing [that the fight will be at Wembley] but I have to stay focused on my training. It hasn’t sunk in and probably won’t until I make my ring walk. I’ve just got to soak it up and enjoy it. Loads of fighters want to fight on this card and I’ve got the chance so I can’t wait now’. On how he’s preparing for the atmosphere that will be generated by 94,000 fans, ‘you can’t really train for it, but you can visualise it. You’re either made for it or you’re not. We’ll find out in seventeen days whether I am. I believe I am’.
Briefly looking ahead to what might come after providing he secures victory on the 23rd, Ball hinted that he would be looking to operate at a higher level than what he has currently been fighting at so far during his first fourteen professional fights. ‘I’m actually ordered to fight for the British title, so if I win this, there’s no point going back to British level. It’s a case of whatever the best opportunities there are afterwards at European and then world level. No one knows but I’m sure it will be good’.
The undercard for the event was announced just under three weeks before fight night, but Ball insisted that both fighters were given more than enough notice to prepare for a crucial fight in both men’s careers, both harbouring ambitions to reach the pinnacle of the sport. ‘I’ve had quite a while [to prepare]. I’m not sure exactly how many weeks I’ve known but it’s been quite a while. It’s been hard to keep it a secret, really hard’.
Ball concluded the interview with a message for his loyal supporters and sponsors, saying ‘to all who have been buying tickets from me since day one, since the small hall shows which are the most important to help you rise, I appreciate all of the support. It’s because of them that I’m where I am now. Same to my sponsors, I wouldn’t be doing it without them’. Ball even found a few words for prospective new fans who will be witnessing him for the first time on the 23rd when asked why they should tune in to watch him fight. ‘Because I’ll show them what they’ve been missing. My style’s very exciting’.