Tommy Barber – London
On the inaugural Box Academy show broadcast by Box Nation on Friday, May 18, Joe Selkirk looked a diamond prizefighter for four rounds against former cage fighter Jason Ball. However, the 26-year-old prospect, unaccustomed to eight round distances, lagged in the latter half of the contest at the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester. Selkirk, though, ground out a points victory and preserved his undefeated status.
Official verdict: Selkirk wins 77-75 score on referee’s card.
Pumping a piston-like jab into ex mixed martial artist Jason Ball’s mouth, Selkirk showed an appreciation for lead punch precision as early as the initial exchanges in the opening stanza. An undefeated professional and a key attraction at the gate, Selkirk showed great leverage when launching uppercuts, showed great movement skills and, through the early rounds, was a level above Ball.
Dubbed Daddy Cool, Ball boxed tentatively, much like he did in his most recent outing against Chris Eubank Jr, and there was a distinct lack of effectiveness in his work, perhaps because he never seemed confident to really pull the trigger and load up on power. When he threw right hooks, Selkirk was able to use head movement to evade the shot as Ball’s speed was oft left wanting.
Selkirk took advantage of a sluggish Ball in round five, hooking around the Yorkshire man’s loose guard and clubbing him with looping right and left mitts.
Ball, in comparison to Selkirk, was crude as Joe was largely able to avoid an abundance of Jason’s emotive-driven fists. Selkirk was far more cerebral, would plant his feet, pop a jab and crack the useful straight right into Ball’s mouth. Along with the uppercut, the right hand was Selkirk’s most reliable weapon against Ball and was one he could reliably rock Ball’s head back whenever he landed cleanly with it.
While Ball was largely shut-out and threw mostly air-shots or arm-punches, he did sneak through with a number of right hooks to Selkirk’s ribs, however, the fast-rising junior middleweight from Liverpool was dominant in the ring and on the referee’s card, claiming a unanimous decision.
“I’ve never trained so hard but I made a lot of mistakes,” reflected Selkirk (9-0-0, 5ko) to Box Nation after having his arm raised aloft. “[Ball] pushed me all the way. To do eight rounds would have been good for me and will stand me in good stead in the long run. In a few more fights I’ll be ready for [British champion at 154lbs Brian Rose].”
Tommy Barber – London
Chris Eubank Jr was forced to work hard in his second professional fight, a decision victory over former mixed martial artist Jason Ball, courtesy of the referee in a bout that was (atypically for a novice) set over six threes.
Tommy Barber – London
Steve Harkin succumbed to a seventh round technical knockout defeat to former mixed martial artist Jason Ball as he failed to defend himself against from the hard right hand that cleanly connected from round one all the way to round seven. Ball was crowned with two titles – the BBBoC Central Area junior middleweight championship and the British Masters belt at 154lbs – at the Liverpool Olympia on Friday, January 20.
Official verdict: Seventh round TKO for Ball.
Two minor domestic-level professional championships were up for grabs in the co-main support in Liverpool and, with a ten round distance fight in mind, neither Ball nor Harkin truly exerted themselves in the opening few rounds.
A former cage fighter, Ball turned to gloved boxing two years ago and, pre-fight, had a losing record, however, an extraordinary seven of his ten opponents had never tasted defeat and, against Harkin, Ball certainly wasn’t boxing like a fighter brought in as one with “opponent status” written on his resume. Instead, his crushing right hand bore fruit to distinct damage on Ball who was bruising as early as the third.
In the fourth round, Ball continued to land his hard-hitting right hand. And again. Harkin was defenceless against the shot his inability to adapt worked in favour of Daddy Cool Ball, who entered his opponent’s hometown by way of Doncaster. An accidental coming together of heads produced a cut on Ball’s eye – something his corner sought to work on between rounds.
Boxing with rigour, Harkin appeared rejuvenated by the wound he had opened up in the previous round and so was fighting with a new found aggression in round five. Midway through the round, Ball forced Harkin into retreat by clattering him with one, two, three flush right hands. Harkin attempted to dilute the power of Ball by leaning into the ropes and covering up but his guard was so weakened that Ball was easily able to punch through it.
Ball, a dispatcher of heavy leather, a pressure fighter, a physical brute and a ring general, continued his superiority in round six and a barrage of right hands, a left and another right staggered Harkin, buckled his legs and sent him to the canvas for the first and only time of the fight. The knockdown had been coming… Harkin took the count, got up at eight but he was glassy-eyed, bleeding profusely from the mouth and the referee had no option but to award the stoppage win in favour of new Central Area and British Masters junior middleweight champion – Jason Ball.
“These are my first two titles; I’m chuffed,” said a jubilant Ball to Box Nation. “I trained hard over Christmas, very busy, just had twin boys born, been hectic, together with the training. It’s been every three hours up feeding and if I’m training too long the missus gets on me case! Cuts don’t bother me, caught me with a headbutt. All the cage fights I had I never got butted once and you’d expect it with that!”
On how he achieved victory, Ball concluded: “I got that jab through and chopped the right.”
With the win, Ball jumped up to 5-5-1, 4ko while Harkin slumped to 5-3-2, 1ko.