STUART HALL has paid tribute to promoter Dennis Hobson for earning him a crack at becoming world champion for a second time.
Hall lost his IBF bantamweight crown in June when he lost a split-decision to Ellesmere Port's Paul Butler after 12 rounds of topsy-turvy and enthralling action.
But Butler’s decision to relinquish the belt to drop down in weight has created an opening for the Darlington boxer to stake a claim to reclaim his title.
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Hobson beat off the purse-bid challenge from American promoters Golden Boy to clinch a duel with Californian Randy Caballero on home turf later this year, which is expected to take place at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.
Hall said: "I'm so thankful to Dennis for what he's done. He's pulled it right out of the bag and got me home advantage, which is unbelievable. When I fought [Vusi] Malinga to win the title and it ended up a war, the crowd really got behind me when things got tough.
"Going to America would have meant less time to prepare for the fight, because I think they [Caballero's camp] already had their game set. So Dennis has pulled it out of the bag and I'm going to return the favour and win that title back."
Caballero will be a formidable challenge. The unbeaten Californian has knocked out 13 of his 21 opponents and is seen as a future star of the United States. Hall is confident he will be reunited with the IBF strap.
Hall, who raised money for charity as part of Drive Vauxhall’s golf team at Saltburn Golf Club last weekend, said: “I'm confident. He comes to fight and it's going to be an easier night for me, I think. I had to chase Paul Butler at times and it was hard to nail him down, but Caballero will be there [in front of me]. I think they'll underestimate me, because people do, but I'll be more than ready for him. I hope he brings his A-game because it's going to be a really great fight. It's going to be a war."
It has not been all good news for North-East boxing this week, however. Bradley Saunders has had his fight with French fighter Christopher Sebire cancelled.
The pair were due to enter the ring in Manchester on Saturday as part of the undercard to Alexander Ustinov's heavyweight fight with Tyson Fury.
Saunders has been training hard for the contest, but has struggled to find an opponent after making it tens wins from ten when he stopped Finland’s Ville Piispanen last month.
The Sedgefield former Commonwealth medallist is now expected to fight for a title in November after rising through the rankings with World Boxing Organisation following his blistering start to the pro game.