I’ve got even better! Ball’s warning to Courtenay for world title clash

Rachel Ball insists she has improved as a fighter since her first bout with Shannon Courtenay as the pair rematch for the vacant WBA bantamweight world title.

Shannon Courtenay vs Rachel Ball (Picture By Mark Robinson)
Shannon Courtenay vs Rachel Ball (Picture By Mark Robinson)

The Aldridge boxer was originally scheduled to fight for the strap in November, before an injury to Ebanie Bridges – and weight issues with late notice opponent Jorgelina Guanini – meant she instead fought for the for the interim WBC super-bantamweight world title.

She won that belt but has now moved back to bantamweight in search for the full world title on Matchroom's card on April 10.

The 29-year-old faces Courtenay who she beat on points in August, handing her the first loss of her career.

Ball told the Express & Star: "It's always good to have another shot at it coming up, with everything that's going on. It's great.

"This title is massive. I look forward to having another title in my cabinet after April.

"I can't wait to get back out there, show everyone what I can do and hopefully close this Courtenay chapter.

"I 100 per cent have improved since the last fight. I've learned so much and I'm doing different things in my training.

"I'm growing so much as a fighter. This year I learned how to properly box and I'm looking like a boxer.

"It'll be a much harder fight for her. They're going to be careful.

"There's things I can take from the Shannon fight and my last fight to work on to be ready for this one.

"It's about working on my weaknesses and everything else will slot into place."

In their first bout Ball dropped Courtenay with a sharp shot in the first round, before taking the decision.

Since then Courtenay put on a powerful performance by knocking out Dorota Norek last month, but Ball was left unimpressed.

"She bounced back and hit the girl with a good shot but I didn't really rate her opponent at all," she added.

"She was a natural flyweight rather than bantamweight and I didn't rate the girl at all, to be honest.

"It was more of a confidence-building fight for Courtenay, which is fine if people want to take that route of building confidence with easier opponents.

"But I'm certainly going to bring the fire on April 10.

"It's not really my style. I want to get stuck in and fight. At this level I'll fight anyone around my weight, it's not a problem.

"I'm not going to shy away from that or fight easier opponents, it's not what I'm about. I stay true to my fighting nature and fight whoever is put in front of me."

Ball and Bridges are good friends but following the Australian's arm injury, and the Covid restrictions making it tough for her to travel, her world title shot has been put on ice.

The Black Country boxer, however, is still keen to take on Bridges in the future.

"I would still like to honour the fight with Bridges to be honest," she said.

"That would be really good. We are good friends and it's been a real shame for her with Covid and her injuries.

"I'd like to see her have her shot, but it is what it is. I have to take these fights when they come up, I'm not in a position to say no."

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