STUART HALL wants a passionate hometown crowd to back him to further glory when he makes the first defence of his Commonwealth bantamweight crown in Darlington next month.

Hall will return to the Dolphin Centre on March 9 to face Ghana’s durable Isaac Nettey and believes his fans could spur him on towards a victory which would edge him towards a third European title shot.

The Darlington public watched the former British champion win the Commonwealth belt with a comfortable success over Barnsley’s Josh Wale, but the experienced Nettey should be a tougher nut to crack.

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Hall, who has lost just two of his 17 pro contests, said: “It was a brilliant atmosphere last time. It was fantastic and just what I needed. I cruised through that last fight and there weren’t many tough times when I needed the crowd, but we don’t know much about this African.

“There could be tough rounds when I need the crowd behind me, and I think we’ll get even more fans in this time, and it’ll be even louder.”

Nettey has lost eight of his 30 bouts and has been the distance with former world title challenger Rendall Munroe.

He also heads in to the trip to Darlington on the back of a seven-bout winning streak and Hall knows it will be a tough night.

Hall said: “He’ll be durable, we know that from his performance against Munroe, and he’s won his last seven with four knock-outs. That’s all I know, so I’m fighting blind really.

“He looks tough; I’ve seen a picture of him and he looks quite scary! But as long as I’m the best I can be then everything should go fine.

“He’s never been stopped so a stoppage would be fantastic but I just want to go in there and win. If I get another 12 rounds under my belt that will be great.”

If Hall wins he has designs on returning to the European stage, where he has already had two unsuccessful attempts against Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell and Bristol’s Lee Haskins.

Hall said: “Another shot at the European would be the icing on the cake. If I can win this fight and get [champion] Stephane Jamoye that would be fantastic.

“I’m not getting any younger and I want to push on because I am improving. I don’t just want to defend the Commonwealth; I want to try and win the European and, fingers crossed, get another shot at Jamie McDonnell.

“That last European shot (against Haskins) I blew and didn’t deserve to win. Looking back though, I’ve learnt off my two losses and gained experience. I’d be more than happy to fight Haskins again if he comes through Martin Ward.

“That’d be a brilliant return for me and I’d be so confident of beating him next time.”

  • The Dolphin Centre show’s undercard will also feature a number of other talented North-East fighters, including former Commonwealth featherweight champion Paul Truscott; Darlington’s Neil Hepper; Middlesbrough’s Shafiq Asif; Spennymoor’s Ben Jackson, and County Durham’s Tommy Ward.

For ticket information contact 07824 466535 or the Dolphin Centre on 01325-388406.

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