By Lance Jenkinson
Western suburbs boxer Qamil Balla has claimed his second World Boxing Association Oceania title.
The latest title belt is the most precious for Balla, who claimed the WBA Oceania super lightweight division with a win by TKO over Indonesia’s Hero Tito at Grand Star Receptions in Altona North last week.
The previous title Balla won in 2017 – the WBA Oceania lightweight division – was an interim belt, but now he has a title belt all to his own after his eye-catching victory over Tito.
“This was a full title, whereas the last one was an interim, so it never feels like the full thing when you’re the interim champion,” Balla said.
“This one is the proper champion belt and it feels real good.”
Balla had not been in a professional fight for 14 months.
In his last serious bout, he broke a knuckle and had to give it time to heal.
It was almost a case of out of sight, out of mind for Balla, because once he returned he struggled to line up a big bout that he desired.
Eventually Tito answered the call and they locked horns for the Oceania title.
Balla admitted he had concerns over whether his knuckle injury would have an impact on his boxing.
“I was just happy the fists still worked,” he said with a chuckle.
Balla is 29 and a much smarter boxer than he once was.
His experience in the ring has led to him being a little more calculated and a little less cavalier in the way he approaches a fight.
While he would not shy away from brawling in the ring, he prefers to let his fast feet and smart tactics win the way.
“It’s just dancing in the ring to be honest,” Balla said. “I can turn on that fiery redhead from Hoppers Crossing any time I want and I know he’s a bit of a fan favourite, but it’s just that it makes the night a bit harder for me and my family because I come home with a bunch of cuts and bruises.
“It can also turn it into a 50-50 fight because it’s boxing at the end of the day and everyone can punch and you can get clipped by a nice one, so I stick to my game plan, box smart, allow one big shot, then I can go in and finish and that’s exactly what I did.
“It was one of those times where the game plan spookily actually worked 100 per cent.”
Balla was thrilled to win on home soil.
The Altona North resident lives a stone’s throw away from Grand Star Receptions and treats it like his home venue.
Balla said his manager and promoter are “rubbing their hands together” about the doors this victory will open for him in the near future.