DARLINGTON champion Stuart Hall is set for a festive fight after being handed a mouthwatering world title shot just days before Christmas.

As predicted in The Northern Echo last week, Hall is set to face South African Vusi Malinga for the vacant IBF bantamweight belt.

The exciting contest has been lined up to take place at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on December 21 and around 10,000 tickets are available for the televised showpiece.

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British welterweight Frankie Gavin will also be on the undercard, but it is Hall’s first shot at a global crown that will be the real highlight of the night.

The 33-year-old moved in to prime position for his dream bout by defeating Sergio Perales in Doncaster in May. Now he could become the region’s only holder of one of the sport’s biggest belts since Glenn McCrory became the first more than 24 years ago.

He will be the first Darlington boxer to fight for a world title ever and the North-East has not had a world champion at such a level since McCrory lost his IBF title in March 1990.

Hall said: “This has come at the perfect time for me and I’m going to grab the opportunity with both hands. I had to learn the sport in 12-round title fights, I learned more off my two losses than if I’d won them. I’ve changed a lot in my training and I’m ready for this world title fight.”

Malinga has already had one shot at the IBF belt and he lost to Leo Santa Cruz last year.

Hall, on the other hand, has been working his way up to that level. After winning the Lonsdale Belt, he has responded to defeat to Jamie McDonnell for the European title two years ago by bouncing back to win the inter-continental title by defeating Perales.

McDonnell, meanwhile, is desperate to take on the eventual winner having been stripped of the belt for failing to defend it inside six months.