Walsall's Rachel Ball is up for world title challenge

Rachel Ball is not taking her short-notice opponent for granted as she chases her dream of a boxing world title.

Rachel Ball is going for title glory Picture Mark Robinson/courtesy of Matchroom
Rachel Ball is going for title glory Picture Mark Robinson/courtesy of Matchroom

The Walsall-born fighter was due to face Ebanie Bridges tonight for the vacant WBA bantamweight title, before the Australian pulled out with an arm injury 10 days ago.

Current IBF super-flyweight champion Jorgelina Guanini stepped in for the championship bout at Wembley Arena, but has since had issues making weight.

Now, Ball will face Guanini in the hope of winning the interim WBC super-bantamweight world title.

If Ball wins she will likely face belt holder Yamileth Mercado for the undisputed championship, but for now she is solely focused on the task of facing Guanini.

“She looks good, and tough,” Ball told the Express & Star. “She’s obviously more experienced than me, so I can’t take my eyes off the ball with her, but I’m prepared and I’m ready.

“She has achieved a lot in the sport and is a very respectable opponent.

“It’s not that much in terms of a weight difference, I don’t know what she walks around it, it might be even heavier.

“She’s a good opponent and I’m sure she’ll bring it on the day.”

With her superior height, Ball’s game plan against Bridges would be to take advantage of that and keep her at distance before unloading her power shots.

Now facing Guanini, Ball – who is a former three-time world kickboxing champion – insists her approach has not had to change much as she goes in search of her first world title in the sport.

“My game plan is pretty much similar,” Ball added. “All of my opponents are pretty much smaller than me, so it’s about working my assets, being strong in there and dominating the fight.

“That’s what we’re looking to do.

“Everything has been going really well, I feel the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life.

“When they said about the opponent change it didn’t faze me, if there was a time I could do it, it’s certainly now.

“Whoever is in front of me I’ll give it my best shot.

“It’s where I’ve wanted to be since I went into boxing.

“I want it more than anything. Get this title, defend it, get some more titles. Let’s go for it all.

“It means a lot for me to fight for the world title, but also to bring it home to the Black Country.

“It means everything so I’m really grateful for everyone’s support.”

Ball’s fight is one of three women’s title bouts on the Matchroom Boxing card, headlined by Katie Taylor defending her lightweight straps against Miriam Gutierrez.

And while Ball is ‘grateful’ to promoter Eddie Hearn for keeping her on the bill despite Bridges’ injury, the 29-year-old believes she is also fighting for her future on November 14.

“I was really grateful to Eddie for sorting out another opponent,” she said. “I wasn’t the first to be told that she dropped out, my manager and my coach were told first by Matchroom.

“By the time I’d found out, within five minutes I had another opponent. I’m really grateful to them for that.

“It’s massive. It’s one of those fights that could potentially secure my position with Matchroom and to continue to work with them.

“If I lose this, or lose shockingly, I could lose my contract with Matchroom, so it’s massive.

“Like the last fight, there is a lot of emphasis on winning a

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