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].”