Rumours regarding the fights which would make up the eagerly-awaited Queensberry vs. Matchroom ‘5 vs. 5’ card have swirled around since the idea was first broached back in January but a featherweight clash between Ray Ford and Nick Ball has been a constant on every list of predicted clashes. 

Today, the news was confirmed. On June 1 in Saudi Arabia, Matchroom’s WBA champion, Ford, will make the first defence of his title against Ball, who is a long-time member of Queensberry’s stable. 

In March, Ford, 15-0-1 (8 KOs), produced a sensational final-round assault to take Otabek Kholmatov’s unbeaten record and win his first world title in spectacular fashion. There were just seven seconds remaining in the fight when ‘The Savage’ found the shots to earn a dramatic late victory. The New Jersey native was trailing on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. 

Just six days after Ford’s heroics, Ball, 19-0-1 (11 KOs), put together a late rally of his own during his WBC title fight with Rey Vargas. After a tricky start, the 27-year-old Liverpudlian smartly ratcheted up the aggression, floored Vargas twice and bullied the veteran Mexican over the second half of their fight, but had to settle for a disappointing and controversial draw.

Less than three months later, the two will meet in an outstanding 126lb contest.

Ford – who has been promoted by Matchroom since the very start of his career – had hoped that Ball would beat Vargas and that the pair would be fighting to unify the featherweight division. Reports did briefly circulate that the 25-year-old had decided to move in a different direction but the opportunity to take part in such a big show proved impossible to resist. 

“5-0,” said Ford who kept it short and sweet at Monday’s press conference. “I’m going for the knockout.”

Ford may be a southpaw but Ball has spent years working with the likes of Peter McGrail and Andrew Cain at the Everton Red Triangle gym in Liverpool and although the 5ft 2in tall scouser will give away his customary few inches in height and reach, Ford’s style and stature may present him with a more straightforward puzzle to solve than the tall, awkward Vargas.

“I’m always confident,” Ball said. “It’s another massive opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to the fight.”

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