Hall aims to be world beater
Darlington boxer Stuart Hall hopes to give himself the perfect Christmas present by winning a world title this weekend.
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The 33-year-old takes on South African Vusi Malinga for the vacant IBF bantamweight crown in Leeds on Saturday evening, as he bids to join Carl Froch, Scott Quigg and Ricky Burns as current UK world champions.
Despite being the home fighter, Hall (15-2-1 7KOs) goes into the fight as the underdog against Malinga who has twice fought for world straps.
However, the Brit takes plenty of confidence from his previous outing - a career-best points win over Sergio Perales back in May for the IBF Inter-Continental belt, which has earned him this shot at the world title.
"I don't think I got the recognition I deserved for beating Perales," Hall told sportinglife.com.
"He had only been beaten once previously and arrived with a big reputation. Perales hit like a Trojan, he was proper heavy-handed, just look at his KO ratio. He had a big punch and I can't see Malinga hitting as hard as him. I think he'll be in my face though and that will be made for me.
"If I can win the world title on Saturday then people will have to sit up and take notice.
"Nights like this just don't get any bigger. Fighting for a world title is what I've dreamed about and what I've worked for all my life."
Malinga, 34, is the nephew of Sugar Boy Malinga who upset British star Nigel Benn back in 1996 to win the WBC super-middleweight title.
His two failed world title attempts both came outside of his homeland as he lost to Hozumi Hasegawa for the WBC crown in 2009 - knocked out in a round.
Three years later, this time in America, the Guateng native (21-4-1 12KOs) came unstuck against huge-hitting Mexican Leo Santa Cruz, losing on points.
"He's been saying I've not had the experience he's had - I can say that when he's tried to step up he's been battered but I'm not going to waste my energy in getting into arguments," said former British champion Hall.
"If I step into the ring on Saturday night with the attitude I've got in my head now, and since the fight was made, I'll win it.
"My training camp has been absolutely bang on - I'm just simmering down now and I can't wait to get into the ring."
Hall has twice lost European title shots, to fellow Brits Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins. He insists he is a better fighter for those reverses, but admits he is in for a tough night against Malinga.
"I've seen him fight - he comes forward and he's a southpaw but I've got 12 rounds to suss him out," said Hall.
"I'm not a big one for watching videos of my opponents. If I bring my A game then I win the fight.
"I'm expecting a hard night, and if it comes off easier then it will be an absolute bonus. He's coming to win and spoil the party though.
"He's a tough African and I know I'll need to break his heart. He is going to try his hardest ... but I'm going to try harder. The only way I can lose is if I let him win it.
"I'm a massive puncher for a bantamweight. I'm just going to be on my game and straight out of the traps for this one.
"I can't even explain what it will feel like to win a world title - but it would be the best Christmas present ever."
Hall vs. Malinga is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) at 7pm on Saturday 21 Dec. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.