BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Craig “Spider” Richards won the WBA continental title with a three-round demolition of Jake Ball.
The Crystal Palace light-heavyweight had his opponent down in every round as he picked up a 14th victory of his career – with his sole loss a British title challenge to Frank Buglioni at the end of 2017.
Ball looked tentative from the word go and Richards showed he had the power to hurt him in the opening round as a straight right dropped him.
Every right hand seemed to buzz the Surrey man and he took another count in the second.
It seemed a question of when, not if, Richards would close the show early and Ball suffered another knockdown from a couple of heavy blows in the third.
Although he beat the count, the South Londoner was not about to let him off the hook.
Once Ball was wobbling again, lurching away from the ropes, the referee saved him from further punishment.
Richards said: “I knew I had to beat a credible name to get in the mix.
“Last year I was really disheartened, spending so much money in camps and fights getting cancelled. I needed a big fight.”
Richards took the Buglioni fight at just five days notice.
He said: “I needed to grow into the weight more, because the weight difference was the difference in the fight.
“I’ll just chill out and see what’s next for me.”
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said: “Winning like that was a real statement.
“He’s punching very hard. He’s now going to be ranked top 15 in the WBA.”