The card at the O2 Arena, London this Saturday is a prospect heavy one.
Topping the preliminaries, is a grudge match between Jake “The Blade” Ball (12-1, KO9), and Craig “Spider” Richards (13-1, KO7), who clash in a ten rounder at Light Heavyweight, with the spurious WBA Continental Title up for grabs. It’s a great match up record wise, and the fight was due to take place in October 2018, but Ball withdraw at short notice due to injury. This has intensified the war of words between the two, and it could be an emotionally charged meeting this Saturday.
Ball has recovered well since suffering a shock first round defeat to JJ McDonagh at Wembley Arena in November 2016. He has won five on the spin since, including impressive points wins over previously unbeaten Joe Sherriff in September 2017 and former Southern Area and English Champion, Miles Shinkwin (both unanimous).
In his last outing, the Surrey southpaw ticked over after nine months out with a third round stoppage of Phillip Kotey in Brentwood.
In Craig Richards, Ball will possibly face his toughest test. A tricky customer, Richards is a former Southern Area Champion, narrowly outscoring the unbeaten Alan Higgins in March 2017. Seven months later he came in at short notice to challenge Frank Buglioni for the British Title when Hosea Burton was forced to withdraw. It was a spirited effort, but Richards was handily outscored by the Enfield man, who handed Richards a first career loss. He has rebuilt with three low key wins, all by stoppage in scheduled six rounders in 2018.
I think Richards will be the fresher man, having had several outings this past year, but this could well be the fight of the night. Both men carry power, and there could be knockdowns along the way, but I expect the slick work of Richards to earn him the tightest of points wins.
Felix Cash (10-0, KO6) moves into Commonwealth class, as he challenges for the vacant Title at Super Middleweight.
His co-challenger is Nigerian southpaw, Rasheed Abolaji (11-4-1, KO6) who should be made for him, having suffered defeat in only his last fight, retiring in six rounds against unbeaten Bilel Jkitou in Kuwait in January last year. He has only ventured outside of Africa on one other occasion, a points defeat to Sam Sheedy in Sheffield for the same Commonwealth Title in April 2017.
Cash is largely unproven, but has passed each test he has faced well enough thus far. He picked up the WBC International Silver Title in his last appearance, winning every round against Stephen Danyo in October 2018 at the Copper Box.
The pick here is for Cash to impressively stop Abolaji before halfway.
Lawrence Okolie (10-0, KO7) will take on Shawn Milleron the bill up at Cruiserweight over ten rounds.
Scott Fitzgerald (11-0, KO8) warms up for his protracted clash with Anthony Fowler in March, when he meets Filip Rzadek (2-11, KO1)