Ibrahim Balla recaps Lerio win and Australian title success

FRESH off securing his maiden Australian title, Ibrahim Balla has his sites set on more success.

Balla, 24, scored a competitive unanimous decision over wily veteran Roberto Lerio, 29, on Friday night, as Balla stifled the attempts of the Sydney-based but Filipino born Lerio, who failed to win a record fourth Australian title.

The ten round decision appeared to be relatively one-sided on the scorecards (100-90, 98-92 and 97-93), but both fighters shared moments of success in a fight that delivered on its promise to provide two-way action.

Less than a week removed from his win, Balla spoke to us about his pride in earning the coveted green belt.

“We prepared for ten rounds in training so I was ready for it,” said Balla in our post-fight interview “But it was good to get the ten rounds experience under the bright lights,”

“I felt like I boxed well and did what my corner asked of me. However, I injured my right hand in the second round and I was unable to capitalize on times when I hurt Lerio,”

“To be honest, nothing really surprised me on the night,”

“I knew he was going to be a tough opponent and he was exactly that.”

With the win, Balla (now 8-0, 5 KOs) joins his brother and Australian light welterweight champion Qamil Balla as the only pair of reigning national champions that are brothers.

This is a feat that is not be scoffed at, as it has only been done five previous times in the storied history of the Australian National Boxing Federation.

Previous siblings to hold the national title simultaneously include Paul and Nathan Briggs, Kevin and Glen Kelly, Dean and Guy Waters (later Troy and Dean) as well as Brian and Mark Janssen.

The Balla brothers are also the first pair of brothers to hold the Australian title at the same time in almost fifteen years.

“To be called an Australian champion is an honour,” explained Balla. “Winning the title and joining my brother as a reigning Australian champion makes the accomplishment that much sweeter,”

Although Balla’s next fight is yet to be confirmed, the undefeated former Olympian is handling his business one fight at a time.

“I’m taking things step-by-step,” said Balla in closing. “I’ll have to see what my team has in store for me,”

“I would like to win a regional title and start dominating the super bantamweight division on a world scale,”

Photo: Marty Camilleri/Marty’s Knockout Photography



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