By John Hannen
Darlington’s Stuart Hall battled his way into the very top of the IBF world rankings, and potential mega-fights, after overcoming the tough challenge of Sergio Perales at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium on May 11.
Hall and Perales clashed for the IBF inter-continental bantamweight title, on the undercard of Jamie McDonnell’s world title fight with Julio Ceja, and put on a cracking scrap.
Coming into this fight, Hall’s American opponent was ranked number five in the world, and he proved his worth by pushing ‘Stuey’ all the way in a close contest.
The Texan southaw, who had lost just one of 23 contests, and knocked out 14 opponents, had plenty of success, countering accurately, and tagging Stuart with a variety of well-timed shots.
Hall, though, showed he belongs in world class and out-punched his rival to take a unanimous points verdict. The ‘Darlo’ man speared Perales with a ramrod jab throughout, and kept landing his backhand to leave Sergio’s face busted up by the end of the fight.
The contest was hard-fought, many of the rounds were nip and tuck, but Stuart edged the action and often seemed to have the last word when the pair let their punches go and traded.
Both were in great condition and gave it their all in the final round, but it was Hall who had his hand raised at the final bell. Scores were 117-111 twice, and a more accurate 115-113.
“It was the hardest fight I’ve had to date,” said Stuart after the fight. “I’ve never been in with such a hard opponent. Someone who could punch as hard, and take as many punches and keep coming back. That’s what you get when you step up to this level though, they don’t go down easily.
“I thought the 115-113 score was fair, but they [the other two judges] were neutral and they had it by a wider margin because they’ve obviously given me the closer rounds. I was just happy with the win really.
“My dream fight is Jamie McDonnell for the world title. That’s what I’ve been screaming for since he beat me. My goal is to get back in with him, but now I’ve won the inter-continental title and am ranked in the top five in the world, other doors will be opened and I could go down a different route. I just need to sit down with Mick [Marsden] and see what’s going to happen.”