LONDON – Boxing’s modern day ‘Cinderella Man’ Stuart Hall makes the first defence of his IBF bantamweight title in a North East derby against Martin Ward.
The diamond of Darlington steps back into the ring for the first time since his unforgettable crowning when he overcame Vusi Malinga in an enthralling 12-round, toe-to-toe clash, to win the IBF belt last December.
Hall’s subsequent rise from a party boy, who days were spent indulging in drink and drugs, to a world champion boxer who now has the world at his feet is something of a fairytale.
The 33-year-old will make his first defence at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on March 29th, when he challenges County Durham’s Ward, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
It has only been little over six weeks when Hall was last in the ring but the bantamweight ace admits he can’t wait to get back in and use the momentum from his last fight to blast his way past Ward in front of an expectant North East crowd.
“My adrenaline has been pumping since becoming champion against Malinga and I just can’t wait to get back into the ring again,” Hall told BoxNation. “I fought so hard to win the world title and I’m going to defend it even harder. Ward’s a good fighter but he’s not been through what I went through to get this belt and there’s no way I’m giving it up. It’s a North East derby and not only is a world championship on the line but also pride.”
“We’ve never had anything like this in the past up here, where two local lads are fighting each other for a world title. It’s going to be an exciting night, there’s going to be drama but I’ll be walking out that ring with my belt – there’s no doubt about that,” Hall said confidently.
It is the memory and experience from his emphatic win over Malinga which Hall believes will see him through on the night.
That fight is regarded as one of the best domestic scraps in 2013 and the Darlington star is sure there will be many more similar nights just like it, starting with his next one.
“It was a great night [against Malinga] and one I will never forget – everything just clicked,” said Hall.
“Going into the fight there was some tension but I loosened up early on and just started going to work. It was my shot and I wasn’t going to let it go and at times I even surprised myself.
“I showed I had something, which you don’t truly know you’ve got until you get there, so I gritted my teeth, saw the fight through and made sure I finished strong. It was a really entertaining fight for the fans and I hope to be in many more fights like that and give the people what they want to see,” he said.
“I’m certain my fight with Ward will have that same buzz because we’re both hungry and the atmosphere will be electric on the night,” Hall said.
The IBF bantamweight world champion is also hoping to bring the biggest fights to the UK and has eyes on unifying the belts in the near future.
“I hope we can bring the biggest names across here for the British fans and put on some huge shows. But I’ll fight anyone and anywhere – it doesn’t matter to me. I want to take on the biggest names in the division and I’m sure there’s going to be some great fights for me down the road,” Hall stated.
“There are some great domestic fights to be made but there’s also a chance to unify the belts against the likes of Anselmo Moreno and Shinsuke Yamanaka - those would be some top fights,” he said.
Another British star who will have his chance at world title glory is Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli when he takes on Germany’s formidable Juergen Braehmer for the WBA light-heavyweight title.
At 33 years old, the clash taking place in Rostock, Germany on April 5th, and live and exclusive on BoxNation, represents a final chance for the former WBO cruiserweight titlist to capture the 175 pound world title.
Hall vs. Ward & Braehmer vs. Maccarinelli is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546). Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.