Jamie Ball retires from boxing
Coseley's Jamie Ball today announced his retirement from boxing after a long-running back injury flared up in training for his next fight.
The 28-year-old hangs up his gloves while still recognised as the Midlands light middleweight champion and in the reckoning for the English title.
Ball was slated to meet Nasser Al Harbi for a second time in an eliminator for the national crown at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on November 30.
But 'the Black Country Bully' has made the heartbreaking decision to call time on his four-year pro career while still undefeated after 15 contests.
Having been plagued by back problems since his amateur days, the last straw came in a sparring session with stable-mate Kyle Spencer last week.
Ball said: "I pulled out of a fight in June through a very similar injury, so I had a couple of months off and went to see an osteopath.
"I just kept telling myself I was OK but, in sparring, I went to throw a back hand and I got a shooting pain in my shoulder.
"I lost all of the feeling in my arm and the next thing I know I am the floor in pain, with tears in my eyes, so I went to hospital.
"I hadn't broken or dislocated my shoulder but there was signs of damage to my collar bone, it's all related to my nervous system.
"I keep trapping my nerves which are causing them to spasm and the osteopath thinks it's the discs in my back becoming reduced.
"The NHS won't operate on me because of my age, I could get it done privately but, even then, it's not guaranteed to fix the problem.
"Even if I did that, by the time I got back fit to fight again it could take 18 months to two years, so I have got to call it a day."
The married father-of-two will now leave the sport and complete a university course in building studies, which finishes next year.
Manager Paul 'PJ' Rowson, trainer and uncle Shaun Cooper and sponsors Daneways - headed by ex-boxer Dean Hiscox - are left behind.
Ball turned pro in 2008 with high hopes after his regional and national exploits in the ABA competitions and continued to box well.
His first snag came when he drew his first Midlands title shot, against Telford's Kieron Gray, and penalised for a controversial knockdown.
But Ball rebounded with a career-best performance to halt Nottingham's Andrew Lowe in the eighth round of his second shot at the belt.
That display saw him named the Midlands Area Council's Best Young Boxer last year and he stopped his next two opponents in 2011.
Sky Sports vetoed British champion Brian Rose's decision to make a voluntary defence against Ball in March, opting for Max Maxwell.
Judgement day instead came with his first English title eliminator against Al Harbi in March, but the fight was deemed a technical draw.
Al Harbi was sliced open from what Ball still maintains was a punch, but referee Terry O'Connor ruled it was caused by a clash of heads.
Neither fighter wanted that outcome and it has proved to be Ball's last fight, leaving him to bemoan that luck has never been on his side.
He said: "I wanted that rematch with Al Harbi and was looking forward to it, that what was helping me get through it when I was in pain.
"I always thought I could win a British title and I wish I could have had that opportunity sooner rather than later, but things happen.
"I have never turned any fight down, it's not like I got the chance, but I was a Midlands champion and Young Boxer of the Year.
"I had two draws, which were both controversial so, in my eyes, I am still undefeated.
"I grew up as a pro, it's a tough sport and if you don't mature, you get hurt."
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