By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
STUEY HALL aims to complete a remarkable transformation tonight – from beach bum to world champion.
The Darlington bruiser meets South African Vusi Malinga for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
And the title chance is a dream come true for Hall, 33, who readily admits that he went wild and “completely lost the plot” during five years of hell-raising in Ibiza as a teenager.
He said: “I went on holiday there after a few knock-backs as an amateur and went wild – you name it, I was doing it.
“I was away from home and I went for it, clubbing and drinking – and the rest!
“I had a few knock-backs as an amateur, packed it in and went off the rails for five years in Ibiza. It was absolutely brilliant, but the things I got up to were not brilliant for somebody who is a sportsman.
“After a few years, I was getting fat and not going anywhere and had completely lost the plot.
“I had to get my life back on track and, thankfully, that’s what I have done.”
Hall returned to these shores, initially overweight at 11 stone, and rekindled his love for boxing to win the British title by upsetting Ian Napa three years ago.
Now he has been presented with the shock opportunity of a title after fellow Brit Jamie McDonnell was stripped of his belt. And Hall is determined to grab his chance.
He said: “I’ve got my life right back on track now, after I had lost the plot completely, and this will be the perfect Christmas present.”
The Yorkshireman (15-2) also believes the experienced Malinga, 34, who comes into the ring with a record of 21 wins (12 by KO) and four losses, can be overcome.
He said: “If I could have picked anybody in the IBF top six to fight, I would have picked Malinga.
“I definitely think this is the one chance I get to win a world title.”
PREDICTION: Hall certainly looks in great condition and I’m taking him to wear down Malinga and win around the eighth.
Stuey Hall v Vusi Malinga is live on BoxNation tonight from 7pm. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.Tags: Stuart Hall