Malinga's trainer expects North-East champion Hall to be found wanting

The Northern Echo: FIGHTING ON THE FRONT FOOT: Stuart Hall takes on Vusi Malinga in Leeds on December 21 FIGHTING ON THE FRONT FOOT: Stuart Hall takes on Vusi Malinga in Leeds on December 21

VUSI MALINGA’S trainer has expressed his admiration for Darlington fighter Stuart Hall, but predicted the North-Easterner will be found wanting a week on Saturday.

Hall takes on Malinga for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title in Leeds’ First Direct Arena on December 21, and their previous fights suggest the two boxers should be extremely closely matched.

South African Malinga flew to England at the start of the month, and has been fine tuning his preparations under the watchful eye of Manchester-based trainer, Lee Beard, who has previously worked with both Ricky and Matthew Hatton.

Beard has been impressed with Malinga’s efforts in sparring, and expects the African’s pedigree to give him the edge in 11 days time.

“He’s very disciplined and strong,” said Beard. “His conditioning was already in place when he first came and he’s in very good shape. We know what most African fighters are like - they’re very gutsy, strong, strong punchers, strong-willed and they’ve got good timing.

“There have been some tremendous African fighters over the years and Vusi comes from a very good boxing family. His uncle is Sugar Boy Malinga, and his brother, Patrick, fought Alex Arthur a few years back.”

Beard has been watching replays of some of Hall’s previous fights, and has been impressed with the strength of the 33-year-old’s hitting.

With both Hall and Malinga liking to fight on the front foot, fireworks are pretty much guaranteed, but Beard is predicting a narrow success for the latter.

“Stuart’s a good fighter,” he said. “Vusi’s done his homework on Stuart, and I’ve seen Stuart fight a few times. It’s going to be tough. Stuart’s going to have a lot of ambition in this fight and it’s a great opportunity for him.

“He’s very tough, likes to come forward and it’s going to make for a good fight because the styles will blend really well.

“But I see Vusi winning the fight. They’ll both come forward, but Vusi is very strong-willed and like a lot of African (fighters), very hard to push back. Because of where they’ve come from, they’ve got so much strength in their mind, and it’s very hard to break that.”


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