Boxing champ looking forward to Christmas with the family

WINNING FEELING: Stuart Hall back home in Dalington after winning his fight last night. He is pictured with his children, Thea five, and 14-month-old Rio

WINNING FEELING: Stuart Hall back home in Dalington after winning his fight last night. He is pictured with his children, Thea five, and 14-month-old Rio

First published in Darlington
Last updated
by

MESSAGES of congratulations have flooded in for bantamweight world boxing champion Stuart Hall, with calls for him to be given the freedom of his home town.

The 33-year-old, from Darlington, emerged victorious after 12 exhausting rounds to claim the title at the First Direct Arena, in Leeds, on Saturday (December 21) night.

His victory over South African Vusi Malinga was described by boxing commentators as one of the most dramatic bouts this year.

The former roofer described his triumph as ‘the best night of my boxing career by a mile’.

He added: “Like everyone who starts out in boxing, I'd always dreamed of being a world champion, and now it's happened.

"I didn't sleep a wink on the night after the fight, partly because of the headache, but also just because the excitement wouldn't die down.

"I'm still not sure it's all sunk in, but I'm going to have a nice Christmas with the family and hopefully that will give me time to reflect on everything that's happened.

"I'm proud to have done this for the North-East, and I'm proud to have done it for Darlington.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman led the congratulations. She said: “This is a really significant sporting achievement. Well done Stuart. He is the toast of Darlington.”

Mrs Chapman agreed that some form of civic recognition for the boxer, from the people of Darlington, would be appropriate.

Such a gesture could have hinged on whether cash-strapped Darlington Borough Council could find the financial resources to host such a celebration.

But council leader Bill Dixon vowed that the money would be found, given the ‘exceptional nature’ of Hall’s achievement.

One way of securing funding for a celebration, particularly if it ends up being a high-profile, large scale event, could be to seek private sponsorship, said Coun Dixon.

He said: “At the very least, there will be a mayoral reception for him and his family and, if there is enough demand for it, we could look to do something in the Market Square, along the lines of the event that was put on for Darlington FC a couple of years ago.”

Emails have already begun circulating among council officials discussing the possibility of hosting a reception.

Any event would take place after the Christmas break and be held in accordance with the wishes of the fighter and his family.

Coun Dixon added that offering Mr Hall the freedom of Darlington was ‘not beyond the realms of possibility’.

The council seldom confers that honour, with car dealership boss and charity stalwart Alasdair MacConachie the only living freeman of the borough.

Asked about Hall’s victory, Coun Dixon added: “This is a great day for Darlington, Stuart has really helped put us on the map.

“Having a world boxing champion reflects very well on the town.

“Whatever people think about boxing, here is a guy that has excelled in his chosen sport and we should celebrate that.”

Congratulatory messages have also been left on The Northern Echo website, which carried a live blog of both the fight itself and the build-up.

One user, Arbroathsmokie, wrote: “A huge well done from all at Harrowgate Club, hope to see you in the club soon, with that shiny new belt.”

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner took to Twitter to pass on his congratulations.

He wrote: “Well done to Stuart Hall on winning the title and a massive well done to [promoter Dennis Hobson] for making it happen for him.”

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:11pm Sun 22 Dec 13

punkrocker says...

well done champ. a proper champion and inspiration. great news.
well done champ. a proper champion and inspiration. great news. punkrocker
  • Score: 9

11:24pm Sun 22 Dec 13

HHmmmmm.......... says...

Well done, an inspirational man who must be as proud as the majority of darlington is ...
Well done, an inspirational man who must be as proud as the majority of darlington is ... HHmmmmm..........
  • Score: 8

4:40am Mon 23 Dec 13

BMD says...

Well done Stuart, I hope you and your family have a great Christmas...
.
Please give the political parasites (Bill Dixon and Jenny Chapman) an early Christmas box.
Well done Stuart, I hope you and your family have a great Christmas... . Please give the political parasites (Bill Dixon and Jenny Chapman) an early Christmas box. BMD
  • Score: 6

11:03am Mon 23 Dec 13

ClareHardie says...

massive congratulations! wishing you and all the family a very merry xmas and a happy new year!
DBC need to raise the funds and give stu the recognition he truly deserves!

Clare Hardie
massive congratulations! wishing you and all the family a very merry xmas and a happy new year! DBC need to raise the funds and give stu the recognition he truly deserves! Clare Hardie ClareHardie
  • Score: -1

12:38pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Saint Crow says...

Over the moon for him!
Massive CONGRATULATIONS!
Over the moon for him! Massive CONGRATULATIONS! Saint Crow
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree