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Rachel Ball beats red-hot favourite Shannon Courtenay as social worker breaks lockdown blues

RACHEL BALL produced the first feel-good story of boxing’s lockdown breakdown with a shock upset win for the social worker underdog.

Adam Booth-managed Shannon Courtenay was the red hot favourite when the super-bantamweight fight was announced but Ball was slowly backed once fans read up on her pedigree.

The three-time kickboxing world champion started sensationally with a first round knockdown but Courtenay showed true grit and seemed to roar back into the lead.

But referee Howard Foster shocked the few staff inside Eddie Hearn’s back garden when he picked the away fighter 77-75.

The flame-haired marathon runner and down-to-earth girl could not beat back tears as she said: “Most of my fellow social workers, who I work with, only found out I box this afternoon so thanks to them for all their late support.

“I hardly ever cry but I am so happy, it means everything for me.

“It was a closer fight than I wanted but I got the win and I want to move on to big things now, I dream of a world title.”

Courtenay started the opener well, jabbing to the body because towering Ball’s head was seven inches above hers.

The Watford woman backed Ball up toward the end of the first and landed a right hand from a crouched position.

But Ball connected with a peach of a left hook that dropped the 27-year-old who was struggling in the first fair fight of her career.

Courtenay, 27, to her total credit battled her way back into the contest in the second, stalking and tagging Ball around the ring.

Ball’s rangey one-twos scored again a few times at the start of the third but Courtenay remained relentless and marched her down, bobbing away from the jab and rising with hooks.

💥 That first round knockdown #CourtenayBall #FightCamp 💥

📺 Tune in on Sky Sports Action now! pic.twitter.com/wluD3L1d7V

Sensational slugfests ensued in the fourth, fifth and sixth with a breathless Courtenay demanding to know how her corner was scoring it and they had good news for her after plenty of clever head movement and bullish boxing.

When the Bell rang, it was assumed that Courtenay would get the home decision but Ball had her arm raised by Foster.

And the most emotionally charged interview of boxing’s comeback followed with Ball reminding the British boxing world what a Rocky story looks like.

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