Portsmouth ace out to be a sharpshooter in 2018

Lucas Ballingall, right, on his way to victory over Michael Dehamnia. Picture: Neil Marshall (1713340-659)
Lucas Ballingall, right, on his way to victory over Michael Dehamnia. Picture: Neil Marshall (1713340-659)
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Lucas Ballingall has set his sights on a clash with knockout artist Archie Sharp as he prepares to take his next professional step.

Ballingall bids to extend his unbeaten record to nine fights in Belfast on February 3 when he meets Karl Kelly.

The super-featherweight impressed last time out when stopping Frenchman Michael Dehamnia in style in November.

Ballingall is looking to make 2018 a big year in his formative career as he seeks to accelerate his progress.

Highly-touted multi-national champion Sharp is being groomed for big things by promoter Frank Warren.

He’s stopped four of his past five opponents, building an 11-fight winning record.

But Ballingall’s coach and father Michael is confident he could overcome the Kent talent.

Ballingall Snr said: ‘Frank Warren has called offering us stuff, so we know we’re not that far away. We’re looking for names to take a chance with. I’m confident we can come through it.

‘Everywhere we spar people say Lucas looks like a baby but he earns their respect. It’s not about sparring stories, though, it’s on the night.

‘Lucas is building a good name for himself but, at the end of the day, we have to be ready at the right time. He’s a young lad and he’ll fight anyone.

‘Warren has this super-featherweight sensation who’s knocking everyone out. That’s the fight we want.

‘We got offered the Archie Sharp fight but had committed to February 3 in Belfast and people had bought flights and hotels. We had to fulfil that obligation.

‘I asked about March but they said they were moving on. If they want to see how good their boy is – put him with this little lad from Portsmouth.

‘We’re willing to take a gamble against a very good lad who’s a knockout specialist. But is it a fight they want?’

Ballingall has just returned from a training camp in Belfast, where he’s sparred world-ranked James Tennyson.

The 21-year-old is now looking to continue his rise up the domestic rankings.

Ballingall Snr said: ‘We’ve been back in training over in Ireland. We’re sparring James Tennyson who’s number four in the world and going for a world-title fight.

‘Lucas is up to number 14 in the country after his last fight. He beat a lad with a positive record giving away a load of weight.

‘Lucas was eye-catching against an opponent coming to win. Now we want more.’