Stuart Hall and Vusi Malinga head into their IBF bantamweight title clash knowing that this weekend’s bout in Leeds may be their last chance at securing a recognised version of the world title.
The last big UK bout of the year has had the fans buzzing, with Hall v Malinga tickets being snapped up left, right and centre meaning that a packed house full of noise can be expected for the BoxNation televised encounter.
For Briton Hall, the fight represents his first foray into the heady heights of a championship clash, although the Darlington man did go twelve rounds with previous belt holder Jamie McDonnell in September 2011.
Hall, although beaten by McDonnell was never out-classed, having lost a 116-113, 116-114, 115-113 decision after twelve pulsating rounds at the Doncaster Dome. The 33 year-old now has the chance to set-up a possible rematch and redemption attempt if he can overcome the experienced Malinga on home soil.
Malinga, 34, is obviously the more seasoned of the two having fought twice for a world title in the past, but himself came up short more convincingly than Hall having been stopped in one by Hozumi Hasegawa and dominated by Leo Santa Cruz.
Some see it as a big step-up for Hall on the back of his recent opponents and rightly so, but ‘Stuey’ seems in a good place prior to his defining night and the crowd will no doubt give him a big life come fight night.
South African’s may be in short supply at the First Direct Arena on Saturday night for Malinga, although that is nothing new for the talented southpaw and this should only add to the occasion at hand.
Having the pedigree to go abroad and win titles will also spur on Malinga after he witnessed his uncle ‘Sugar Boy’ Malinga take the WBC belt from British favourite Nigel Benn in Newcastle when he was just a teenager.
Both fighters have the desire and skill to be a world champion, but now is the time to prove it, and with a lucrative contest with McDonnell in the pipeline for the victor, it should make for an entertaining contest.
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