World Title Talk: Stuart Hall's diary ahead of his IBF world bantamweight showdown

The Northern Echo: ON THE BUSES: Stuart Hall, right, with Ian Cass, director of coach company M&D Travel, who are taking fight fans to Hall’s bout in Leeds on December 21 ON THE BUSES: Stuart Hall, right, with Ian Cass, director of coach company M&D Travel, who are taking fight fans to Hall’s bout in Leeds on December 21

I WATCHED Carl Froch fighting George Groves at the weekend, and it was weird to think that when a British fighter goes into the ring for a world title next month, it’s going to be me.

It was a cracking fight, with a really big build up, but that’s what you get at world level and hopefully there’ll be just as much excitement when I step into the ring in Leeds next month.

I was shocked at the first round on Saturday night, just like everyone else was. Groves didn’t come across at all well in the build up, and I didn’t like that. I wanted Froch to win, and thought he was going to win easy.

But Groves was a proper warrior wasn’t he? I thought it was a fair stoppage even though a lot of people didn’t, but Groves is still young and his time will come. I’d be surprised if he didn’t win a world title at some stage in the future.

It’s strange when you watch a fight like that because part of you watches it like a fan, cheering every big punch. But another part of you has a boxer’s head on and you’re watching to try to pick up a few tips.

I especially like to see the way they plant their feet, you can sometimes pick things up from that. I might have titles to my name, but you never stop learning new things and fights like that can make you think about your own tactics and style.

MY sparring has really kicked on again this week, and I’m even more confident now that I’ll be right at the top of my game next month.

I’ve been sparring with Rendall Munroe down at his Shinfield gym, which is in the Midlands. I went eight rounds with him earlier this week, which was brutal. We were only going to do six, but I was in the zone so we stayed in there for eight.

Rendall is a world-class fighter. He’s bigger and stronger than Malinga is going to be. He’s got a lot of class about him, and if I can jab Rendall Munroe then I can definitely jab Malinga because he will be there in my face the whole fight.

I could have taken an easier sparring option, but I’m confident this is the best way to go. After taking a few punches from Rendall, I’ll hardly feel anything at all when Malinga hits me.

I learned this week that Malinga is in the country now. We didn’t expect him to come to Britain so soon, and I think he’s paid his own way to come over so fair play to him, he’s obviously taking this fight seriously.

I’m told that Lee Beard is training him over in Manchester – he used to work with Ricky Hatton. Lee knows what he’s doing, but I want Malinga to be at 100 per cent because I don’t want him to be able to come out with any excuses when I beat him.

I was down at the Dolphin Centre yesterday meeting the people from M&D Travel who have organised the coaches that will be taking my supporters down to Leeds on December 21.

They’ve sorted out a £10 return deal and that’s great because I want as many people from the town as possible to get behind me and help bring the belt back to Darlington.

What’s the population of Darlington? About 100,000? Even if I could 1,000 fans to head down the A1 with me, that would be brilliant support.

You can get the coach tickets from the M&D Travel shop on Houndgate, and they’re also selling tickets for the fight there as well. It’s the Saturday before Christmas, so why not make this your Christmas night out? I’ll make it memorable, I promise.

Tickets for Stuart Hall's world title fight are priced from £30, and can be bought from the First Direct Arena's booking line on 0844 2481585 or by calling 07824 466535.

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