Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

World Championship Win Is My Destiny, Insists Hall; BOXING

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

World Championship Win Is My Destiny, Insists Hall; BOXING

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Steel Sports writer

IT'S approaching 25 years since the North-east boasted a major world boxing champion, but Stuart Hall believes he is "destined" to emulate Glenn Mc-Crory by claiming IBF title glory next month.

County Durham cruiserweight McCrory claimed one of the big four belts back in October 1989 when he outpointed Patrick Lumumba in Stanley.

And Darlington's first world title challenger Hall insists the stars have aligned for him to defeat South African southpaw Vusi Malinga for the IBF's vacant bantamweight title at the new First Direct Arena in Leeds on December 21.

The 33-year-old's trainermanager Michael Marsden had been scratching around to come up with an opponent to get Hall a contest before Christmas.

But opportunity has come knocking for Hall after former opponent Jamie McDonnell was stripped of the title by the IBF for failing to defend against mandatory challenger Malinga within a designated time frame.

Hall said: "I've only just started sleeping properly since the fight was made because I've been buzzing so much. It's a dream come true.

"But my training is already going spot-on, and it's all about timing and fate. It's my destiny to become world champion.

"It will be unbelievable to follow in Glenn McCroy's footsteps and be in the history books, and I want to secure my family's future."

Hall will become one of the oldest-first time British world title challengers - if not the oldest - when he faces Malinga. But he insists age is just a number after turning pro late at 28 and losing just twice in 18 bouts, in European title clashes against McDonnell and Lee Haskins.

"I don't feel 33," he said. "How old was Sergio Perales, who I beat last time? 26.

"I was a late starter as well. I'm fresh and haven't been in loads of tough fights. …

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