Ballingall out to live up to hype

Lucas Ballingall won the first fight with Qasim Hussain
Lucas Ballingall won the first fight with Qasim Hussain
Joel McIntyre. Picture: Sarah Standing (161623-8349)

No rest for McIntyre after latest win

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LUCAS BALLINGALL steps out at the home of British boxing tonight with praise ringing in his ears.

Ballingall undertakes his second professional assignment – a rematch with Qasim Hussain who he beat in May – at the York Hall in London.

It’s a confidence booster to hear people who know what they are talking about saying nice things about me.

Lucas Ballingall

The featherweight is looking forward to the chance to box at a revered venue which has witnessed many greats of the sport in action down the years.

Ballingall’s skills and talent have seen many respected voices in boxing talk up his potential.

World champion Lee Selby delivered glowing praise of his ability after sparring the 18-year-old. And the Portsmouth man has caught the eyes of plenty of trainers on his tour of gyms around the country.

Now he is looking to show those words are justified when he steps into the ring in the capital.

Ballingall said: ‘I can’t wait to box at the York Hall.

‘It’s the home of British boxing and it’s only my second fight.

‘Luckily I’ve got a lot of people willing to come to London to support me, too.

‘I’m pleased to have good support backing me.

‘It’s a confidence booster to hear people who know what they are talking about saying nice things about me.

‘That’s given me a lift and can only bring me on. Lee Selby is a world champion and there are some top coaches saying good things, too.’

There may be plenty of talk about Ballingall’s talent from those in the boxing know.

But, at the moment, he’s learning all about the hard road to the top as he mixes training with holding down a full-time job to pay the bills.

That means finding time for his work in the gym with travelling around as he works in the hard-flooring industry.

Ballingall said: ‘It’s hard working and boxing.

‘But I get good support from my boss, Craig Anstey, and he’s given me some time off.

‘Not everyone can become a full-time pro.

‘It’s hard but if I move up the rankings and win titles that is the way I’d like to go.

‘I’m prepared to put in the hard work to make that happen.’

Highly-touted former national champion Lucien Reid has provided top-level sparring for Ballingall ahead of tonight’s contest.

Ballingall said: ‘I did a few rounds with Lucien Reid.

‘He’s a good fighter, very sharp, so that helped. I had to be on the ball for that.

‘I’ve sparred David Leo, who is strong, but I did well against him and used my skill. And there’s all the local sparring I had, too.’