Ball Makes it 14 on the Bounce

Black Country prospect Jamie Ball headlined a night of boxing at Walsall Town Hall on Saturday.

boxingLate withdrawals affected Saturday night’s First Team promotion at Walsall Town Hall but there was still some top-quality action to thrill the packed arena.

Topping the bill was Coseley middleweight Jamie Ball, who took his unbeaten record to 14 out of 14 with a fifth round stoppage of Raimonds Sneidze.

Ball certainly didn’t have things his own way in the early stages of the fight, with the Latvian Sneidze showing that he had come to Walsall to do more than pick up a pay packet. However, southpaw Ball began to work well behind the jab and after a big fourth round from the man who was voted Midlands Young Boxer of the Year earlier this month Sneidze began to lose heart.

The fifth round saw Sneidze warned on several occasions for repeated holding, and after being deducted a point he appeared to be looking for a quick route back to Riga. With his corner seeming poised to throw in the towel good work from Ball caused the referee to step in with 12 seconds of the round remaining. The Latvian was later reported to be suffering from a broken hand while for Ball, a shot at the English light-middleweight title currently held by Brian Rose remains on the cards.

There were mixed fortunes for the three debutants on the bill. Stourbridge light-middleweight Steve Pearce delighted his noisy band of followers when outpointing perennial looser Bheki Mayo in the night’s opener over 4x3s. Pearce started well, landing several good body shots and although the contest grew scrappier as it wore on, with both fighters being warned for use of the head, the local man won a deserved 40-36 verdict.

Light-heavy Dan Phelps found out how painful the paid game can be when being stopped in the second of a scheduled 4×3 contest against Stafford’s Grant Cunningham. Cunningham got to work immediately, showing poise behind a sharp jab, then stepped up a gear in the second. Two big right hooks put Phelps down for an eight count and although he seemed willing to fight on, the referee’s decision proved correct as the Trowbridge fighter slumped once more and had to be helped back to his stool.

If Cunningham’s win was the most emphatic of the night, the best performer was arguably the third debutant, Kingswinford light-middle Kyle Spencer, who looked to have a bright future ahead of him in outpointing Aaron Fox of Trowbridge. From the off Spencer impressed the crowd with his hand speed and ability to make every shot count. Fox looked on the verge of being stopped more than once during this 4×3 rounder but deserved credit for hanging on until the final bell even though he was well beaten in a 40-36 decision.

There was a shock for local super featherweight Saquib Amir, who lost his 100% record in his third pro fight when dropping a 6×2 decision to Dan Naylor of London.  Amir, who until recently was fighting on unlicensed shows, found himself outworked by his opponent, who overcame the handicap of a cut over the right eye caused by a clash of heads in the third. Amir seemed to be getting on top until wobbled by a big right hand in the fourth and although he recovered well, was unable to re-impose himself on the fight and Naylor finished strongly to take the verdict 58-56.