The unbeaten featherweight outhustled former WBO junior featherweight titlist Isaac Dogboe to claim a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory. Judges Mark Lyson (119-108), Kevin Parker (118-109) and Kieran McCann (116-111) all ruled for Ball in their TNT Sports/ESPN+ televised WBC featherweight title eliminator Saturday evening at AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Ball took the fight directly to Dogboe and forced an aggressive pace early on the night. Dogboe maintained a tight guard and patience in lieu of getting caught up in an in-ring shootout with his younger, unbeaten foe.
The all-action approach had its drawbacks for Ball. The first moment came late in round two. Dogboe was outboxed for much of the frame before he connected with a counter left hook. Ball was briefly stunned but remained upright through the bell—as well as in between rounds, as he chose to stand in his corner in lieu of sitting on his stool.
Ball avoided a knockdown call late in round three. Dogboe turned his shoulder towards the onrushing Brit and attempted a left hook that landed on Ball’s shoulder. An ensuing exchange saw both fighters miss and Ball fall to the canvas, which referee Victor Loughlin correctly ruled a slip.
Dogboe was not afforded the same courtesy on the other side of the bell to begin round four. Ball connected with a left hook, though a follow-up forearm shove forced Dogboe’s fall. Loughlin immediately issued a count without ordering Ball to a neutral corner, as Dogboe immediately protested the knockdown call.
Ball worked behind his jab in round five. He later caught Dogboe with a left hook on the inside behind a right hand that was blocked.
Dogboe momentarily lost his balance from a right hand early in round six. He quickly recovered and tightened up his high guard. Ball adjusted and landed to the body. Dogboe slipped a right hand and came back with a brief flurry upstairs.
Ball rode out an early surge from Dogboe, who looked to land upstairs early in round seven. It didn’t quite take, as Ball significantly outworked the aged titleholder for much of the round. A brief defensive lapse saw Ball catch a right hand late after missing wildly with a left hook along the ropes.
Dogboe was urged by his corner after the end of the eighth round to offer more movement but to bite down and respond on the moments Ball rushed his way inside. The latter part came into play when Dogboe landed a counter left hook which caused Ball’s knees to buckle late in the ninth. It came as Bell otherwise enjoyed a dominant round but once again showed holes in his still developing game.
Ball was warned for holding and throwing Dogboe in the tenth. The sequence occurred shortly after Dogboe landed a counter right hand over the top inside the final minute. Ball—who fought through a bloody nose—enjoyed a solid round to that point but briefly lost his head for which he was admonished by Loughlin.
Round eleven was all one-way traffic. Ball threw punches from all angles and split the high and tight guard of Dogboe, who walked forward but did not have it in him to let his hands go. An attempted ten-second drill by Dogboe was anticipated by Ball, who say back against the ropes and picked off the incoming.
Dogboe desperately needed a knockout in the twelfth and final round. The willingness was there as he targeted the body. Ball quickly adjusted and fired off a series of straight shots upstairs. Dogboe landed a right uppercut midway through the round but it was countered by a series of power shots. Dogboe later landed a right hand and a left hook to the body but it wasn’t enough to avoid the scorecards or his second straight defeat.
The outcome saw Dogboe fall to 24-4 (15KOs). He dropped a competitive but clear decision to Robeisy Ramirez in their WBO featherweight title fight on April 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which snapped a four-fight win streak following back-to-back defeats to Emanuel Navarrete.
Despite now sitting as the mandatory challenger, Ball ( will likely have to wait deep into 2024 for an actual title shot.
Mexico’s Rey Vargas (36-1, 22KOs) holds the full WBC featherweight title, while Texas’ Brandon Figueroa (24-1-1, 18KOs) holds the interim version. Their bout was once poised to land on the David Benavidez-Demetrius Andrade undercard, then rumored for a December 9 Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) show that was since removed from the schedule. It remains among a deep roster of PBC fights awaiting a home once Showtime closes up shop at the end of the year.
Nevertheless, Ball is in a good position in the year ahead. A quality win over a veteran contender and former titlist like Dogboe came in a much-needed step up in competition, which will leave him better prepared for the next level.