Hall's title defence still on after late night talks

The Northern Echo: On and off: Paul Butler and Stuart Hall will still meet in the ring as planned in Newcastle on June 7 On and off: Paul Butler and Stuart Hall will still meet in the ring as planned in Newcastle on June 7

TOP level talks with boxing chiefs have prevented Stuart Hall’s scheduled second defence of his IBF bantamweight title from being scrapped.

The Darlington world champion’s fight with Ellesmere Port’s challenger Paul Butler will still go-ahead on June 7 in Newcastle after negotiations ended in a deal.

It emerged late on Wednesday night that the IBF had rejected Hall’s request to make a voluntary defence of his belt against Butler, who has won all 15 of his professional bouts.

The IBF instead had insisted the North-East world champion must face the mandatory challenger, American Randy Caballero, first.

But the IBF told The Northern Echo last night that after cross-Atlantic talks between the Caballero and Hall camps, and promoters Francis Warren and Dennis Hobson, an agreement has been reached for the Hall-Butler duel to go ahead.

Speaking from the United States, an IBF spokesperson said: “Earlier in the day this was the case. However, at 5.30pm yesterday (Wednesday) Golden Boy Promotions, Caballero's promoter, notified the IBF that they were not opposed to Hall fighting Butler first. So it appears that Hall versus Butler will happen.”

Neither Hall nor Butler had even been notified of any threat there was to the contest.

Hall, who had won 16 and lost two of his pro bouts before his first defence ended in a frustrating technical draw with West Rainton’s Martin Ward, said: “As far as I’m aware, the fight is on and I can’t wait to get in to the ring with him and show him what I’m about.”

Butler had indicated: “I’ve spoken to Francis Warren and Frank Warren is on the phone to the IBF. They’re very confident that the fight will happen and that’s just a bit of politics but I was really surprised.”

Fears surfaced on Wednesday after the IBF had started to let people know they had rejected the request for an exception.

IBF chairman Lindsey Tucker had stated: “The board denied the exception so he now has to fight Caballero within, I think, 90 days. There’s 11 people on the board and all we need is six of them to go one way. I think the vast majority of them voted no. They didn’t feel he should have the optional fight right now, so he has to face his mandatory.”

That prompted Warren’s calls to the IBF and after lengthy negotiations with the Caballero camp, Hall has been informed he can now continue his preparations for Butler’s visit to the Metro Radio Arena on June 9.

Sunderland's Kirk Goodings will also be fighting that night as he attempts to retain his English lightweight belt against Sheffield's Jamie Sampson.

“It was brilliant fighting on the big bill last time," Kirk said about his appearance against Gary Fox on Hall's world title contest with Ward. "I definitely felt like I belong on that stage.

"There was a huge build up around the fight because of the way Gary had gone on, trying to nut me at the weigh-in and also the stuff he said he was going to do to me. So it felt great to get the result I did, and hopefully I'll be just as happy after this next fight. Providing all goes well this time then I'm a step closer towards another title. I just have to keep winning, and stay patient and humble.”

Birtley’s British cruiserweight champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson, Guisborough’s Josh Leather and Sedgefield’s Bradley Saunders are among those on the undercard.

* Tickets priced at £40, £60, £75, £150 and VIP £200 are are available via Box Office 0844 493 6666 (VIP Packages 0114 243 4443) or from dennishobson.com.

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