By Terence Dooley
The dust may not have settled on the IBF's decision to strip Jamie McDonnell of his batamweight crown, but BoxingScene understands that South Africa's Vusi Malinga, 33, and Darlington's Stuart Hall, also 33, could contest the vacant belt as early as December or January.
Vusi, 21-4-1 (12), was the mandatory challenger for the title, Hall, 15-2-1 (7), is ranked number three by the governing body, and the two men are likely to meet for the vacant strap within the next three to four months, a remarkable turnaround for a title that was placed around McDonnell's waist in May of this year.
Indeed, Dennis Hobson has recently been in contact with Malinga's team, in a bid to finalise a deal to challenge McDonnell, and he will be keen to ensure that Hall, who he manages, vies for the vacant belt either before or just after the turn of the year, preferably here in the U.K., which would cap a remarkable journey for both Hall, the current IBF Inter-Continental champon, and Hobson, who is engaged in a contractual dispute with McDonnell.
McDonnell, though, has plenty of fight in him, as he made abundantly clear when decisioning Julio Ceja in his home town of Doncaster in May of this year. The 21-2-1 (9), former titlist will now have to work out his next move, and will no doubt petition the IBF to ensure that he gets a shot at the title he worked so hard to win and wore with pride.
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