GREENOCK boxer Sam Ball feels on top of the world after being crowned Scottish champion.
The 21-year-old brushed aside Paisley fighter Craig Kelly at the Lagoon Leisure Centre on Friday night to claim his maiden professional belt.
Sam was quick out the blocks and had his opponent on the canvas several times in the opening exchanges of the 10-round bout before delivering a devastating body blow in the third after which referee Victor Loughlin stopped the contest.
Having won a string of titles at amateur level and competed for a place at the Commonwealth Games in 2014, Sam says winning the Scottish welterweight title is undoubtedly one of the highlights of his career so far.
He told the Tele: “I’m feeling on top of the world. I won the Scottish and medals as an amateur and did that from the age of 11 to 19.
“This has got to be right up there with fighting against Josh Taylor for the Commonwealth Games.
“It’s up there with the top.”
The Greenock fighter had to work hard to earn his eighth pro victory on the spin with Kelly refusing to give in.
Sam sent the brave Paisley boxer to the canvas several times, including in the first round, with a series of excellent left hooks to the body.
Kelly rose time and again but the contest was eventually halted with one minute and 21 seconds gone in the third.
Sam said: “He ran out and put it right on me from the get go so I had to try and box him.
“I realised I had to either go the distance or keep him away and trade with him and let him know I’m not here to be bullied, I’m here to battle - and I took the second option.
“I hit him with a body shot and he went down in round three.
“But I put him down five times in two-and-a-half rounds.
“It was a one-sided war if I’m honest.”
His opponent was gracious in defeat and praised the Greenock rising star.
Kelly said: “He was a great fighter, he took everything I threw at him.”
With his first pro title in the bag, Sam is now targeting further success.
He said: “I’m planning to be back out half way through April in a six-rounder to keep things going and then looking to defend the title or move on and climb up the rankings even higher.
“I’m delighted to pick up the Scottish title.
“I’d like to thank my supporters for coming out to support me and my manager Iain Wilson for getting me this opportunity.
“The whole place was bouncing when I went in the ring. It was amazing, the best feeling ever.
“Now it’s on to bigger and better things and hopefully I can bring more belts back to Greenock.”
Sam would like to thank his sponsors Williams Double Glazing, Gianni’s chip shop, Carpetrite, JBJ Plastering and Roofing, Sculpt Health and Protein Supplements and David Steele Physiotherapy.