STUART HALL has set his sights on becoming world boxing champion for the second time after losing grip of his IBF bantamweight belt in an enthralling encounter with Paul Butler.
Despite an electric start from Ellesmere Port’s challenger which left his more experienced Darlington counterpart trailing by four rounds, Hall recovered and rightly claimed to have done enough to edge it.
But in the end the three judges made Butler the new champion of the world by virtue of a split decision, which included a strange 117-111 scorecard from Berit Andreasen after Beat Hausammann (Hall) and Dave Parris (Butler) had scored it 115-113.
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Hall, however, is not going to use the third defeat of his 21 contests to prevent him from entering the ring again. He has even invited Jamie McDonnell to make the County Durham man his first mandatory challenger for his WBA bantamweight crown.
“I will be back and will get another world title shot,” said Hall, who has been hungry for a rematch with McDonnell since losing to him in September 2011.
“Jamie McDonnell might fight me now. He might think he has a chance. That’s the fight I would love to have. We will get another shot, though, I’m sure of it.
“It might not be for the IBF but we will stay in the gym and I will win another world bantamweight title. I have learned from this fight. I have just gone 12 rounds, I’m 34 and I feel sound. Until my body says I can’t do it any more I will keep doing it. I was never in trouble.
“I didn’t disgrace myself, definitely not. I have still got loads of energy. I’m off to Ibiza for a week and I will chill there for a week. Then when I come back I get in the gym, get the cut sorted out and go again.”
Hall’s promoter, Dennis Hobson, is considering a complaint to the IBF over judge Andreasen’s scorecard. It is, however, highly unlikely that a rematch will be ordered. Butler, however, would be happy to give Hall an opportunity to reclaim his belt.
Butler, 25, said: “He gave me a shot, why not give him a rematch? I knew speed would be key in the first six or seven rounds. I think I only lost one of the first six. Stu came on strong, like I knew he would. He caught me with some good shots. I thank Stu for giving me the opportunity. He didn’t need to take this.”
Butler will now have a voluntary defence of his crown, with Californian Randy Caballero hoping to be the next in line to face the winner of last Saturday night’s topsy-turvy battle in Gateshead.
It has already been suggested that Butler could even drop back down to his preferred flyweight and vacate his title after earning the world title tag. Hobson, though, is sure Hall will be back.
“You saw a budding superstar come to the table in Paul Butler. But Stu has proven himself at this level. The bookies got it wrong. It was a toss of a coin fight. It was not a 3/1 fight,” said Hobson.
“I knew Paul was a special talent. I thought it could go either way and there was no disgrace in Stu getting beat. Stu is still at this level, there’s plenty of life in him yet. He has had 21 and is 34.”