WORLD champion boxer Stuart Hall urged schoolchildren to fight against the odds to succeed before going back to his roots with a visit to his former club.
Mr Hall visited The Rydal Academy, in Darlington, yesterday (Tuesday, January 21) armed with the IBF World Bantamweight belt he won after beating South African Vusi Malinga in a pre-Christmas showdown in Leeds.
The champion opted for the party life in Ibiza for a number of years before returning to the sport to become world champion, having previously been rated a good amateur.
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Rydal Academy headteacher John Armitage said Mr Hall’s visit was the subject of much excitement amongst the schoolchildren who listened to the boxer talk about his path to success during a special assembly for the key stage two classes.
Mr Armitage said: “He spoke about some of the traits and assets that he needed to help get him to the top in terms of commitment and focus, and the element of control he needs in channeling his emotions and anger in the right areas.
“His visit was all about raising the aspirations of the children; they are from a similar community to Stuart, he is a Darlington lad and he has gone on to achieve great things.
“It helped the children realise that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your family finances are, you can still achieve what you want if you are prepared to work hard.”
When Mr Hall decided to resurrect his career he travelled to his chosen club Spennymoor Boxing Academy four times a week from his home in Darlington.
It was after an academy trip to Australia in 2006, when he opted to dedicate his life to the sport and turn professional. It was this decision which led him to be able to box for a world title.
During his visit to the club last night (Tuesday, January 21), Mr Hall backed the forthcoming academy tour of Canada and encouraged the talented boxers who train there.
Robert Ellis, head coach at Spennymoor Boxing Club, said: “With Stuart being such a high profile sportsman and former member of the academy, it is a massive incentive for all our boxers to reach the highest standard possible and go on to enjoy their chosen sport.”