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Stuart Hall v Vusi Malinga
Updated 5:20pm Sunday 22nd December 2013 in Sport
This live event has finished
- Darlington's Stuart Hall takes on South Africa's Vusi Malinga
- Hall would become Darlington's first world champion if he wins
- Hall, 33, tipped the scales at six ounces heavier than his opponent at the weigh-in
Stuart Hall said: "I feel absolutely unbelievable. I need to thank a lot of people for making this happen and believing in me.
"People said that Stuart Hall couldn't do this, well he could, and I did.
"I didn't panic. I knocked him down but he got up and came back at me. It's so much tougher at this level, but I wasn't going to let anything stop me.
"I couldn't see out of my eye for the last few rounds, but I still kept going and did everything I could to win."
What an absolutely remarkable contest that was.
Both fighters gave so much and were absolutely exceptional, but Hall thoroughly deserved to win.
He's got a hell of a story already - but this obviously tops the lot.
Hall won it by a unanimous decision, with one judge scoring it 116-111 and the other two making it 117-110.
He's now being carried aloft around the ring, with the world belt draped over his shoulder.
STUART HALL IS WORLD CHAMPION.
There might be blookd everywhere, but Hall celebrated like he thought he was world champion.
His trainer has lifted him aloft and the crowd are singing his name.
Now, down to the judges....
Brilliant final round from Hall. After all that's happened, and even though has cuts below both eyes now, he still finished the stronger.
I think he's done enough to be world champion.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 117 Malinga 114
How Hall is fighting with his left eye just about completely closed is beyond me, but he is.
Another tight round, with both fighters matching each other blow for blow.
Malinga maybe the more composed, but Hall's heart is the difference here. He's still pouring forward at every opportunity.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 107 Malinga 105
Both fighters are absolutely exhausted here, and Hall can hardly see out of his left eye.
He's continuing to throw some big punches though, and both fighters landed some decent shots.
Malinga had come back into this, but if Hall can see it home, he'll be world champion.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 98 Malinga 95
That was probably Malinga's best round of the fight, with the South African catching Hall with three big punches in a blistering combination.
Hall's left eye is bleeding badly now, and that's the biggest concern.
The North-Easterner is showing no signs of stopping, but Malinga can sense a way back into this.
Hall landed a brilliant left right at the death though.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 88 Malinga 85
The speed of Hall's hitting is making the difference, although that was a much tighter round.
It's the first time all fight when both boxers have looked to work inside rather than rely on their jab.
Both fighters are throwing a host of punches, and they're trading blows in the middle of the ring now rather than working the ropes.
This is Hall's to lose though.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 79 Malinga 75
Another round where Hall is doing the lion's share of the work and landing the majority of the blows.
The only concern is a cut below his left eye which is gradually opening up.
Malinga will look to exploit that, but Hall finished the round ever so strongly and has just saluted the crowd.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 69 Malinga 65
Another round where Hall's powerful start made the difference.
The Darlo fighter landed some quickfire combinations inside the opening 30 seconds, and the blows took some of the sting out of Malinga's efforts.
The South African is becoming increasingly ragged, but his erratic right uppercuts will be dangerous if they land.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 59 Malinga 56
Nip and tuck again, with both fighters landing powerful rights.
Malinga rocked Hall for the first time all night with a big right to the left cheek midway through the round.
But Hall responded with a quickfire right double that probably earned him parity on the scorecard.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 49 Malinga 47
Fair play to Malinga, he's steadied the ship since that knockdown and come back with some decent blows.
That was the South African's best round, and he landed a couple of decent shots as Hall briefly let his guard drop.
Hall was still landing shots of his own though, and there wasn't much to separate them in that round.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 40 Malinga 37
Brilliant stuff from Hall as he knocks Malinga to the floor in the opening stages of the third.
The North-Easterner came flying out of the traps again and sent Malinga reeling with a powerful right.
Malinga looked in all sorts of trouble at that stage, with his nose already bloodied.
Hall dominated the rest of the round, but couldn't land a knockout blow.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 30 Malinga 27
Sensational start to the second round from Hall, with a series of early combinations leaving Malinga reeling.
For 20 seconds or so, the South African was in real trouble, as he couldn't really deal with the intensity of Hall's hitting.
Malinga dug himself out of trouble as the round progressed, but Hall another telling left halfway through and easily won the round.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 20 Malinga 19
Very tight opening round, with little to choose between the fighters.
Hall started strongly, but Malinga has been controlling the centre of the ring, with Hall fighting off the ropes.
Hall threw more punches, but Malinga was the only man to land a telling blow, with a powerful right.
Northern Echo scorecard: Hall 10 Malinga 10
Both fighters are in the ring and, after a quite bizarre rendition of the national anthem, we're ready to go.
Malinga came in on the shoulders of his corner-man, to the backing of some traditional tribal African music.
Hall looked composed as he walked to the ring sporting a dark hooded top to the refrains of Titanium.
The announcer is just completing the introductions now, and we're just a couple of minutes away from the first bell.
Followed by Stuart Hall. Time to make the NE proud. #hallmalinga http://t.co/R1aEPx14IY— @paulfraserecho 21 December 2013
Vusi Malinga on his way to the ring. #hallmalinga http://t.co/Hwai6I1CJI— @Scottwilsonecho 21 December 2013
Plenty of Darlington support in the Arena, being choreographed by a fan with a large drum. There's also a Union Jack flying with the name of the town.
Next up.......the main feature.
Stuart Hall's ring walk is just seconds away.
Frankie Gavin has beaten Bradley Pryce - but he had to dig rather deeper than expected to do it.
He won the first five or six rounds at a canter, but Pryce finished strongly and rocked Gavin in the ninth.
The final scorecard read 99-92 in Gavin's favour though, and the former world amateur champion retains his undefeated record as a pro.
Five rounds of this fight gone, and Frankie Gavin is comfortably on top.
He's much the faster of the two fighters and is landing far more blows than his opponent.
Bradley Pryce is complaining about Gavin hitting too low on occasion, and the Welshman is going to have to do something dramatic to turn this around
Frankie Gavin fights Bradley Pryce at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. Stuart Hall up next for world… http://t.co/fEK8dKWlaa— @paulfraserecho 21 December 2013
Good luck to @stuskithechamp tonight in his World Title Fight— @ibizarocksbar 21 December 2013
Bring it home @stuskithechamp— @ChrisJGaffney 21 December 2013
Good luck m8 bring it home @stuskithechamp #andthenew— @bigtal1983 21 December 2013
The penultimate fight of the evening is about to get under way with Frankie Gavin taking on Welshman Bradley Pryce at light middleweight.
Pryce is a former Commonwealth champion, but it will be a major surprise if he sees off Gavin.
Gavin was a star in the amateur ranks, winning a World Championship crown, and boasts an unblemished record of 17 wins from 17 fights since turning professional.
An upset here, with Dave Ryan beating Paul McCloskey in a closely-fought contest.
Ryan won 77-75 on the referees' decision, despite McCloskey knocking him down in the fourth round.
Judging by the boos that greeted the announcement of the decision, most neutrals in the audience expected McCloskey to win that one.
Just bumped into Stuart Hall's trainer, Mick Marsden, backstage, and he reports that his man is in fine fettle.
The pair have worked together since the early days of Hall's career, and this is one of the biggest nights of the Leeds-based trainer's career as well.
Glenn McCrory has just taken his ringside seat here in Leeds on a night that could have a special resonance for him.
McCrory is the only North-Easterner ever to have won a world title, with his success coming at Stanley's Louisa Leisure Centre in 1989.
If Hall wins tonight, he will be the second, although McCrory told The Northern Echo he would love to see the Darlington man join him in the record books.
Next into the ring, we've got a light welterweight contest between Derby's Dave Ryan and Northern Ireland's Paul McCloskey.
McCloskey boasts much the better record of the two, but Ryan boasts more support here in Leeds.
We're about an hour out from the main attraction now, with the crowd growing all the time.
Gary Sykes looks sharp! #HallMalinga— @neilthompson1 21 December 2013
Good performance this from Sykes. #HallMalinga— @SugarRayClay 21 December 2013
As far as warm ups go, that support fight between Gary Sykes and Femi Fehintola was a lively affair.
The opening couple of rounds were tight, but Sykes gained the upper hand from that point onwards and eventually ran out a reasonably comfortable winner.
The Dewsbury fighter won 80-73 in the end, and the margin of victory was about right.
The latest odds for the Hall vs Malinga fight are as follows:
Vusi Malinga 8-13
Stuart Hall 13-10
Method of victory:
Malinga to win by points or decision 11-8
Malinga to win by KO or TKO 10-3
Hall to win by points or decision 21-10
Hall to win by KO or TKO 15-2
Will the fight go the distance:
Perfect place for #HallMalinga fight, starts 1030pm. Keep up to date on our blog. Hall to win on points my tip. http://t.co/rdLMW0fB5R— @paulfraserecho 21 December 2013
Here is @stuskithechamp in the building let's go Stuey! http://t.co/IJ6Wv2luIZ— @asifvali 21 December 2013
Femi Fehintola's one of the nicest kids in the game. He's had it tough so it's good to see him back in business #boxing #HallMalinga— @Terryboxing 21 December 2013
Next up, we've got an all-Yorkshire contest that looks sure to get the crowd going.
It's a super featherweight bout pitting Dewsbury's Gary Sykes against Bradford's Femi Fehintola.
A popular decision as Yorkshireman Lewis Taylor defeats Midlander Max Maxwell 80-73 at middleweight.
There are plenty of Yorkshire fighters on tonight's under card, but sadly no representation from the North-East before Stuart Hall gets into the ring.
The main support contest features Frankie Gavin, one of a crop of highly-rated former amateurs who are rapidly making their way in the professional game.
Will be interesting to hear Jamie McDonell's views if he is here tonight.
After being stripped of the title after failing to defend it inside six months, McDonnell is hoping to take on the winner of tonight's contest.
If Hall wins, that would mean a rematch of the pulsating 2011 encounter, which the Doncaster fighter won on points.
Plenty of Darlington boxing fans enjoying the Premier Inn bar across the road apparently.
They should be ready to air their support to Hall when they eventually arrive.
Collecting @fdarena with our fab volunteers #hallmalinga http://t.co/tYpaBmqkFk— @CashforKidsAire 21 December 2013
There'll be a bit of teamwork going on here tonight outside the ring. Paul Fraser will be doing most of the updates for now before taking over online boxing report responsibilities during the fight.
Scott Wilson will be keeping the blog updated during the fight ... 3G signal permitting!
And photographer Chris Booth will be here to post live pics from the action ...
Both Stu Hall and Vusi Malinga walked on to the pitch at Elland Road today when Leeds drew 0-0 with Barnsley.
Hall looked supremely confident and, according to those talking to him on the touchlines, he showed no signs of nerves ahead of his big night in Yorkshire.
The support action is under way in Leeds, and we're currently watching the opening round of an eight-round middleweight contest between Max Maxwell (Birmingham) and Lewis Taylor (Drumfield).
Taylor's got some decent ring-side support, but Maxwell has started the sharper.
WBN Preview: Hall v Malinga – Now is the time http://t.co/57l4tyAVD0 #HallMalinga— @WorldBoxingNews 21 December 2013
The atmosphere is already building inside Leeds' First Direct Arena, which was the venue for last weekend's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
There were more than 13,000 people inside then, and while tonight's crowd is expected to be closer to the 5,000 mark, it'll be considerably more raucous once Stuart Hall and Vusi Malinga make their way to the ring at around 10.15pm.
This is the first boxing show to be staged at Leeds' sparkling new arena, which was officially opened in the summer.
Suffice to say that Hall has come quite a way since he was fighting in his first professional bout in front of a handful of fans at the Engineers' Club on Darlington's North Road.
In May I witnessed Hall outpoint classy Sergio Perales in Doncaster. That night few expected Hall to win. Nice repeat tonight? #hallmalinga— @paulfraserecho 21 December 2013
RT @AGEmmerson: Best of luck to Stu Hall @stuskithechamp @Dennis_Hobson tonight at the @fdarena. The belt is yours m8! #andthenew... http:/…— @paulfraserecho 21 December 2013
A penny for Jamie McDonnells thoughts tonight #HallMalinga— @Strangeways21 21 December 2013
Paul Fraser and Scott Wilson are in place at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
Hall is scheduled to start at 10.30pm and there's already a healthy crowd inside the venue to see the warm up bouts.
Olympian Frankie Gavin, the chief support on the bill, has recently turned up in the Yorkshire rain in his shorts!
But tonight it's all about Stuart Hall and whether not he can deliver on the biggest of occasions.
There are already a few boxing fans from Darlington inside the Arena and approaching 1,000 fans from his hometown are expected by ringwalk.
And click here for the thoughts of the North-East's last, and so-far only, boxing world champion, Glenn McCrory.
@boxnationtv getting set up for the show #HallMalinga http://t.co/0j26RWdshf— @Dennis_Hobson 21 December 2013
You can tweet your pictures and messages of support to #hallmalinga
The Northern Echo's sports writers will be in Leeds tonight to provide live updates on Stuart Hall's bid to win the IBF World Bantamweight title.
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