China excited about featuring on Hall's undercard

The Northern Echo: Stuart Hall at the Local Heroes Awards 2013 Stuart Hall at the Local Heroes Awards 2013

CHINA Clarke is delighted to get home billing on Saturday night when he will be part of the undercard to Stuart Hall’s battle with Vusi Malinga for the IBF world bantamweight title at Leeds’ First Direct Arena.

Clarke is one of Britain’s hottest cruiserweight prospects, with just a single defeat from his 15 outings as a pro.

The former English champion is hoping to add another win to his ledger in Leeds before pushing on for a crack at Birtley’s British champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson.

Clarke’s big breakthrough came earlier this year when, in a battle of undefeated prospects, he overcame big-punching Londoner Wadi Camacho in seven rounds to take the vacant English title. A loss to another prospect followed when the 34-year-old was beaten by Blackpool’s Matty Askin in his first defence, but two wins have followed and he is now looking at a career-defining 2014. Trained by Mark Bateson, father of amateur star Jack, the Yorkshireman has since added triathlon training to his fitness regime and believes this will make all the difference to his future performances.

“I’m massively looking forward to this show,” stated Clarke on fighting in his home city on a world title bill. “When I first started boxing we didn’t have an arena and I always wondered if I’d have to go away to London or Manchester for the big fights.

“My goals are to get more titles. Even though I suffered my first loss in 2013 it has still been a great year for me. I’ve now changed things behind the scenes and have added the triathlon type training into my boxing and it’s made a huge difference.

“Jon-Lewis Dickinson defends his British title against Neil Dawson in March next year, and I would love to take on the winner. I know where I’m at now so if that shot at the British title came up, or any title shot for that matter, then it would be fantastic because I’m at that level. It needs to happen.”

Dennis Hobson Promotions and Queensberry Promotions are presenting the show at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on December 21.

Hall is looking to claim the vacant IBF world bantamweight title against Malinga when if successful he will become Darlington’s first ever world boxing champion.

Also on the undercard will include Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin defending his Commonwealth welterweight title.

Bradford’s Femi Fehintola will be fighting Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes. While Northern Ireland’s Paul McCloskey, Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor, Leeds’ Clarke and Steven Mennell, Doncaster’s Dave Allen, Cheshunt's Ashley Sexton and Wales’ Lewis Rees will also be fighting.

* For information about return coach travel from Darlington for £10 please contact Lynsey Lockey on lynseylockey@dennishobson.com or 07557 553512. For ticket information call 0844 248 1585 or visit www.firstdirectarena.com Tickets are also available via Ticketmaster on 0844 844 0444 or via www.ticketmaster.co.uk

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