By Terence Dooley
Darlington's Stuart Hall, 15-2-1 (7), may have to pinch himself to make sure he isn't dreaming on Tuesday afternoon as the 33-year-old will be formally unveiled as co-challenger to the vacant IBF bantamweight title alongside South Africa's Vusi Malinga, also 33 and with a 21-4-1 (12) record. Rated at number three by the IBF, Hall's world title opportunity landed at his feet when the governing body decided to strip former holder Jamie McDonnell for failing to finalise his mandatory defence against Malinga by the organisation's November 11th deadline date.
McDonnell won the belt by decisioning Julio Ceja in May, he cited his split with former handler Dennis Hobson when outlining why he believes he should be given more time to make the match, but the IBF have upheld their original decision and told BoxingScene that McDonnell's situation will be taken into account when they next sit down to decide their ratings and mandatory challengers. It leaves McDonnell without a belt to defend, but he is likely to have a run out on the undercard of Carl Froch's WBA and IBF Super middleweight showdown with George Groves at Manchester's Phones 4u Arena on November 23rd — for details and tickets for that show go to: http://www.phones4uarena.co.uk/.
In the meantime, Hall, who is managed by Hobson, will hope to repeal Malinga's challenge to pick up the IBF belt, which could set up a tantalising rematch with McDonnell, who handed Hall a decision defeat in September 2009.
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