Hall confident of world-title success after meeting Malinga

The Northern Echo: Darlington boxer Stuart Hall outside the First Direct Arena at Leeds ahead of his world title fight against Vusi Malinga Darlington boxer Stuart Hall outside the First Direct Arena at Leeds ahead of his world title fight against Vusi Malinga

STUART HALL claims his preparations for next weekend's IBF World Bantamweight title fight with Vusi Malinga could not have gone better, and is predicting an explosive victory in eight days time.

Darlington's Hall, who is a former British and Commonwealth champion, will take on South African Malinga for the world crown at Leeds' First Direct Arena a week on Saturday.

The 33-year-old met his opponent for the first time at a pre-fight press conference yesterday, and the pair went eyeball-to-eyeball for some staged publicity shots.

Physically, there was not much to separate the two fighters, but having completed his final preparatory spar this morning, Hall is confident of claiming the biggest win of his career when he meets Malinga for real.

“I'm really happy with where I'm at now and the way the preparations have gone,” said the North-Easterner. “Everything's gone absolutely perfectly.

“I'm in the best possible nick I could be, and come fight night, I'll be going into that ring as the best possible Stuey Hall. Then, I'll be coming out as the world champion.

“It's all about the final preparations now. I had my last spar with Rendall (Munroe) this morning, and it felt great.

“I felt really sharp. We'll have a last sharpener on Monday, and then we'll all be done. The camp has gone absolutely brilliantly, and there'll be no excuses on the night.”

Malinga flew to England at the start of this month to step up his preparations under the watchful eye of Manchester-based trainer Lee Beard.

The South African has fought unsuccessfully for a world title on two previous occasions, but Hall is not interested in his opponent's previous record.

“It's the first time I've seen Malinga, but to be honest, I'm not really interested,” he said. “It doesn't bother me who he is or what he does because it's all about what I do on the night. He won't be able to handle me, it's as simple as that.

“I've just got to be the best I possibly can be, and make sure I get my game right. If I do that, there's only going to be one outcome and that's me leaving with the belt. Whatever Malinga does doesn't matter. It's about me. If I get things right, I'll be coming away as the world champion.”

Malinga was making his first appearance in front of the press, and looked cool and composed as he eyed up his opponent.

He is ranked one place higher than Hall in the IBF rankings, and while he accepts he is in for a difficult night next weekend, he fully expects to be returning to his homeland as a world champion.

“I'm very happy to be here,” said Malinga. “I've been working very hard ahead of the fight and am just about ready now.

“The training over in Manchester has been very good. We've been training very hard and it's been great to work with Lee. I'd already started training back in South Africa, but since I've been in England, the work has definitely been tougher.

“I've watched some of his (Hall) previous fights and I know this will not be an easy evening. I came over to England a few weeks ago because I wanted to make sure I was completely prepared for him. I will not be taking this easy because it is something I have been waiting my whole life for.”

Tickets for Stuart Hall's world title fight on Saturday, December 21 start at £30 and are available from the First Direct Arena booking line on 0844 2481585. Tickets can also be bought from M&D Travel on Houndgate, Darlington, along with return coach travel to and from Leeds, which is priced at £10.

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