FORMER world bantamweight champion Stuart Hall has been granted a shot at reclaiming his crown – and it could even mean a trip to California.
Talks are still at an early stage centred on when and where the title fight with mandatory challenger Randy Caballero will happen, but the IBF have warmed to the appeals of Hall’s team.
The Darlington boxer’s promoter, Dennis Hobson, had lobbied for Hall to be given an immediate chance to reclaim the belt he lost to Paul Butler in Newcastle last month.
A close split decision from the judges included one scorecard of 117-111 which was completely out of sync with the other two of 115-113.
The IBF have given the Hall camp the news they had hoped for and talks will now be stepped up.
“It’s brilliant news, although it’s not been finalised yet because we have to decide where and when it takes place,” said Hall, who has split with world title training coach Michael Marsden.
“There’s talk of it happening over here and there - who knows at this stage because it has to be worthwhile for me to fight and I have to give myself the best chance of winning.
“It is all about winning and getting as much advantage as you can. You can go to America and it would be brilliant for my career to fight over there but straight away you would be two judges down.
“But I love the way Caballero fights. He is similar to me. It will be a war. It will be another Vusi Malinga fight. Realistically I would have been fighting him anyway because I am still the champion in my eyes.
“I believe I am still the champion because of the way the last fight went. I’m moving on to Caballero now. With a bit of luck this is what should have happened.”
Caballero, 23, had stepped aside to allow Hall to face Butler last month even though he was officially the mandatory challenger after stopping Japan’s Kohei Oba in April. Now, after Butler vacated the belt he won to drop down a division, the IBF have been looking for the man to face the Californian.
Asif Vali, a key member of the Hall promotional team, told World Boxing News: “We are delighted to have managed to get Stuart another chance so soon after the Butler fight. The first fight was close enough that we hoped the IBF would rank Stuart high enough to get a shot at the title again and for it to happen so soon is great for Stuey and British boxing.
“Dennis Hobson has a history of trying to get his fighters world title shots at home and this one is no different. If we can get Caballero over here it would be another great night for British boxing. It’s just a case of talking to Caballero’s team to find the right deal for everyone.”
It has been suggested that, despite the benefits of fighting on home soil, that holding the IBF bantamweight contest in England could be worth more money to Caballero.
But whenever and wherever the bout takes place there will be a new man in Hall’s corner. After five successful years, Hall is looking for a new trainer after splitting with Yorkshire-based Marsden, who has been with him through all of his title fights.
Hall said: “There were too many negatives flying around in the build up to the Butler fight and I felt I needed a change. I am being treated like a business by many so I had to start making business decisions myself.
“I had a world title shot with Butler and i wasn’t as confident as I felt I should have been. I’ve not got a trainer yet. For now my best mate Jonny Harrison, my strength and conditioning coach from Darlington, will be keeping me in shape. I am going to approach a couple of people and see what happens.”