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From Worcester to the World: The Kendrick Ball Story

Posted on 07/09/2017

From Worcester to the World: The Kendrick Ball Story
By: Ben Sutherland

It’s the February 4th, 2017. Kendrick Ball Jr swaggers to the ring. Awaiting him is Massachusetts prospect, Patrick Leal. The opening bell goes and Ball advances straight towards him, immediately catching him with a jab. Leal starts backing up, desperately swerving Ball’s bombardment of punches. It isn’t long before Ball catches him with a body shot. Leal drops to the canvas, clearly in some discomfort. After just 27 seconds of round 1, the referee stops the fight.


The demolition that just occurred makes it clear to everyone in the room that Kendrick Ball Jr can go all the way.
Ball turned pro last year, signing with promoter Jimmy Burchfield and Classic Entertainment Sports. Ever since he watched his friend and fellow pro boxer, Khiary Gray, sign with CES and have great success, he knew that it was the promotional company for him. Despite signing with Burchfield and CES, he is still desperate to prove he is worth the investment, “I want to work harder and show CES that I have more to bring to the table than they have seen in my 3 fights so far” says Ball.

Since turning pro, he has moved quickly through his first 9 fights and remains undefeated with 7 wins, 5 of which came by way of knockout. Most recently, Ball won a unanimous decision against Godson Noel on the 9th of June at the Twin River Events Center. “That was my biggest accomplishment so far as a pro” said the 24 year old. “My other tough fights I had against undefeated guys were draws” he says, “beating a guy who was 6-0 was a great feeling”.

Kendrick Ball Sr was always wanted his son, Kendrick Ball Jr, to get into boxing and so started him early. He began by working him out on the mitts around their house. Soon enough a young Kendrick Ball Jr was sparring at the local Worcester boys and girls club.

Ball’s amateur career got off to a slow start, losing his first nine fights. It was perhaps hard to see the unbeaten professional fighter that would eventually be sculpted out. Clearly, Ball needed to significantly increase how much he was training. Some additional conditioning was all that was required to reveal Ball’s underlying talent and he went from strength to strength during the last two years of his amateur career. He quickly became one of the most promising amateurs in New England, winning the Rocky Marciano tournament as well as New England’s and Western Mass Golden Gloves. A narrow defeat to the Olympic alternate was evidence enough that Ball had strong prospects in the professional ranks.

Kendrick Ball Jr is newly emerged onto the pro scene, but he’s here to stay. For now, he is just focused on improving “I’m a hard working fighter that just wants to get better” he says modestly. But sooner or later, if you carry on improving and improving, you find yourself at the top. Ball is very open about his goals, “my ultimate goal is to work my way up and grab a world title while I’m there” he says.

A graduate of Worcester Technical High School, Ball knows how much the next generation matters. The allure of the money and fame that comes with the fight game is appealing but, Ball recognizes the importance of giving back saying “I just want to be a role model for the upcoming fighters and kids”.

Kendrick Ball Jr hasn’t been pro for very long, but he has already made a significant impact. He’s has a great training set up and is being managed by one of the best promotional teams in the United States. He’s fast, he’s flashy, he’s powerful, he’s marketable, he oozes potential and he is just getting started.
Ball’s next fight is penciled in for September 16th this year with the opponent currently being unknown.

The boxing fans of Worcester surely can’t help but ponder the potential stardom of Ball. He is has world champion written all over him and undoubtedly one day he can bring a world championship strap back to his hometown.

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A Quiet Storm: The Jimmy Williams Story

Posted on 07/01/2017

A Quiet Storm: The Jimmy Williams Story
By: Ben Sutherland

There is a palpable anticipatory buzz that reverberates around the Twin River casino in Providence, Rhode Island. Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment Sports has put on an enthralling undercard that has provided the hungry fans with the knockouts and drama that they craved. But that was just the appetizer. There is a WBC national welterweight title to be decided.


Jimmy Williams marches to the ring. The man from Conneticut is on enemy turf. His opponent, Nick Delomba hails from Cranston, Rhode Island, just a 20 minute drive from the Twin River event center. However, the boisterous army of loyal fans that have made the trip to support Williams eliminate any advantage that Delomba holds.

In the opening salvos of the fight, a fierce combination by Williams knocks Delomba to the canvas. The crowd gets excitedly louder as they sense that a stoppage is imminent. Somehow, Delomba survives the first round. However, Williams had asserted his dominance and over the next 9 rounds he puts on an exhibition to win a unanimous decision, in the process taking the WBC and USNBC national titles.

Williams’ story is as inspiring as it is unique. His uncle first introduced him to boxing at age 9. However, boxing was replaced when Williams discovered is talent for football in high school. His accomplishments on the football field earned him a scholarship to Connecticut State University where he played cornerback. After a great collegiate career, Williams began to eye the big leagues and had several workouts with NFL teams.

In 2008, tragedy struck when his mother was murdered. He was in a football meeting at Southern Connecticut when his sister called to give him the devastating news. Inspired by his mother’s death, Williams returned to the sport, “she always told me I would be a boxer” he says. He went back to the gym and had three amateur fights before he turned pro, “I channeled all the anger and pain into the ring” he says, “boxing gives me hope”.

He moved quickly through the ranks, having 6 fights in his first 10 months as a pro. In 2013, he signed with Jimmy Burchfield and Classic Entertainment Sports. This was the catalyst that took his career to the next level, “CES has been doing a great job with my career” he says. Since signing with Burchfield, Williams has fought on NBC, ESPN and has picked up two titles.

One can’t help but notice the army of fans that follow him to his fights. His following that includes former college teammates and friends and family comprises what is one of the loudest and most loyal fan bases at this level. “My fans mean a lot to me” says Williams, “they know my story and understand my pain, they are the storm”. He is grateful for their support and he says he hopes to have his next fight in Connecticut to repay them.

When pushed for his future ambitions, Williams doesn’t shy away: “I’m going keep on coming until I get to the top and become a world champion, that’s the ultimate goal” he says. This goal isn’t some pipe dream, he is well on his way. The welterweight division his stacked with talent, Manny Pacquiao, Errol Spence and Kell Brook to name just a few, but many of the big names are coming to the end of their careers. Perhaps then, Williams is arriving at the opportune moment. His god given talent and work ethic are unquestionable. If he didn’t already have enough motivation, the soon to be father of two now has to use boxing to provide for his children making him all the more driven and dangerous.

Combine that with his fast hands and punching power and you have a deadly cocktail that make Williams a fearsome prospect to anyone. If the welterweight division thought it was getting some respite as the top names retire or move up, it was very wrong. The quiet storm is quickly becoming a hurricane.

Sat there in the crowd at the Twin River events center watching Williams lift the green and gold belt above his head, it is clear this is about more than just boxing. The belt doesn’t just represent a championship, it signifies a much more personal victory. The struggle with adversity is all too familiar for the 30 year old fighter. Boxing has helped him win his fight away from the ring too. The emotion etched into his face as he stands triumphantly in the ring tells those in attendance what he already knows, he has made his mother proud.

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