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Ward Needed Ten Stitches From Stuart Hall Head Clash

Stuart Hall held onto his IBF bantamweight title after his fight with Martin Ward ended in a technical draw following an accidental clash of heads early on.

Hall was making the first defence of the world crown he won in December last year, but the bout at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle was prematurely stopped in the second round.

Ward sustained a nasty cut above his right eye after the pair collided in the opening three minutes and the challenger's bid was halted just after the second round had got under way.

With the clash lasting less than the four rounds needed to be an official contest, a technical draw was declared, meaning Hall retained his title but perhaps not in the manner he would have wanted on an anti-climactic night in the North East.

Hall, who took his record to 16-2-2, admitted he was 'gutted' with the result, having shaded the first round in a contest between two north-east fighters.

"I'm gutted how it's turned out, the crowd have been robbed of a great fight," the 34-year-old from Darlington told reporters.

The champion started in positive fashion, but connected heads with Ward after leaning forward to land a right hand.

According to reports, Ward said he needed 10 superficial stitches to heal the wound.

The 26-year-old from County Durham told BBC Sport: "Stuart came with a right hand and as he rolled around he caught me.

"The saddest thing is the fans didn't get to see the fight but it happens in boxing. Neither of us proved what we wanted to."

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