Stuart Hall is set for the most important fight of his life, and one of the biggest contests in the UK this year, when he takes on South Africa’s Vusi Malinga for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title on December 21.
The battle at Leeds’ First Direct Arena will be screened live on BoxNation TV on a huge night of boxing, with the Darlington man insisting he will be in the best shape of his life and ready to claim world honours.
Malinga will enter the contest as the vastly more experienced man, having already fought for the world title twice in his 26-fight career, and Hall knows he will have to put in a career-best shift if he is to fulfil his life-long dream.
"I won’t know until I’m in there but I’m just expecting him to be tough," said Hall, the former British champion. "I’m in the best place I’ve ever been, four weeks away, and I’ve had the reins put on me.
"I’m expecting a hard night, and if it comes off easier then it will be an absolute bonus. He’s coming to win and spoil the party though and I’ll be more than ready for this fight."
Hall has twice lost European title shots, to Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins, but the 33-year-old says he is a better fighter for those reverses. Last time out, the North East man stepped up to world level when he beat hard-hitting American, Sergio Perales, for the IBF Inter-Continental belt and ’Stuey’ believes that experience will stand him in good stead against Malinga.
"Perales hit like a Trojan, he was proper heavy-handed, just look at his KO ratio. He had a big punch and I can’t see Malinga hitting as hard as him. I think he’ll be in my face though and that will be made for me.
"I’m a massive puncher for a bantamweight and I’m more than ready for this fight. He’s going to be 100 per cent and he’s got Lee Beard training him, but he’s in England for the first time and I think every time he’s left his country he’s been beat. I’m just going to be on my game and straight out of the traps for this one. I can’t wait."
"Whatever happens, this is going to be a terrific fight," said Dennis Hobson, who co-promotes the show with Queensberry Promotions. "It’s a 50-50 fight in my eyes, but Stuart will never have a better chance to win a world title. It will be a real fairy-tale story if he does it and I’m really hoping he can pull it off.
"The rest of the show is excellent too. Femi Fehintola against Gary Sykes is a great Yorkshire derby fight, and when you add in Frankie Gavin and Paul McCloskey it is going to be a really memorable night of boxing."
Dennis Hobson Promotions and Queensberry Promotions present Stuart Hall versus Vusi Malinga for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on December 21.
The undercard will include Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin defending his Commonwealth welterweight title; Bradford’s Femi Fehintola versus Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes; Northern Ireland’s Paul McCloskey; Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor; Leeds’ China Clarke and Steven Mennell; Doncaster’s Dave Allen; Wales’ Lewis Rees; Chorley’s Jack Catterall; Manchester-based American Adrian Gonzales, and Birmingham’s Joe Costello. The rest of the undercard will be confirmed in the coming days.