Cheeseman vs Garcia: Craig Richards believes he has already gained a mental edge over Jake Ball
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 09/01/19 2:18pm
Craig Richards believes he has already gained a mental edge over Jake Ball as he prepares for next month's rearranged grudge fight.
The south Londoner hopes to finally share the ring with Ball at The O2 on February 2, live on Sky Sports, after his opponent pulled out of a scheduled fight in October at late notice.
Ball posted pictures of a hand injury, leading to a mocking response from Richards, who says the Dominic Ingle-trainer fighter has already shown his vulnerability ahead of a potentially explosive battle.
I've noticed it in sparring, my power has increased dramatically. I think I'm back at my natural weight, and it's showing.
"I think I'll always have a mental edge over him," Richards told Sky Sports. "I think I'm probably a mentally stronger person, regardless anyway.
"I'm punching with a lot more power. I've noticed it in sparring, my power has increased dramatically. I think I'm back at my natural weight, and it's showing.
"I believe that if someone doesn't bring it, the other one is going to bring it, so it has to go off."
Ball quickly responded to a verbal attack from Richards on social media, but 'Spider' doubts whether his opponent will be equally outspoken when they go head to head in fight week.
Richards said: "There's not really much to him, is there? He's pretty simple.
"As a person, he's alright. He was alright before any sort of fight was arranged. I didn't really think much of him, to be honest. He doesn't really show much character or anything, so there wasn't really much to make of him."
The 28-year-old hopes victory over Ball will earn him more title opportunities after he produced a creditable performance in a points defeat to Frank Buglioni for the British belt in 2017.
"I think it will finally start giving me the recognition that I deserve," said Richards. "I believe from there I can get the big fights, and hopefully get a lot of title fights this year. Elevate my career up and push on."