Darlington boxer Stuart Hall puts partyboy lifestyle in the past to be world champion

READY TO RUMBLE: Martin Ward (right) and Stuart Hall at the weigh in at the Metro Centre

READY TO RUMBLE: Martin Ward (right) and Stuart Hall at the weigh in at the Metro Centre

0
Have your say

STUART Hall’s path to glory has been like something out of a Hollywood film.

And the world bantamweight champion insists he has no plans to relinquish his place in the limelight and intends to give challenger Martin Ward a torrid night.

The 34-year-old (pictured) believes if it wasn’t for boxing he would probably be dead.

But he proved he is most certainly full of life after winning the vacant IBF belt last December against South Africa’s Vusi Malinga.

It was real Roy of the Rovers stuff for a man winning a world title at the age of 33.

He admitted it was a far cry from when he went wild as a young man on the party island of Ibiza and even carried on living to excess when he returned home to Darlington.

And Hall says he is not upset or bored by it being brought up time and again.

“I don’t mind,” he told SportMail.

“It’s my life but no one knows how bad I really was.

“People think ‘Stuey can’t have been like that?’.

“The things I was up to, I’m surprised I didn’t end up dead.

“Boxing saved my life. I was a young man in Ibiza and I was loving it.

“Even when I came back I was still up to no good.

“But then I started boxing and it turned me around.

“I wouldn’t change my life. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come from those days.

“I was a little so and so at school and I used to get shot out all the time – now I’ve been back to speak to the kids at assemblies and tell them to live their lives well and to get a good education.

“It took a lot of years for me to grow up but now I’m the champion of the world.

“I intend to stay champion of the world.

l TURN to Page 47

“I am a dad too and I want the best life I can give my kids and, again, that means me stay as world champion.”

Hall was the Commonwealth title holder last year when he took advantage of a gap in the IBF system to emerge, almost from no-where, to become their new king.

Ironically, Ward followed him as the Commonwealth title winner, outpointing Ghana’s Gabriel Laryea last December.

The pair even have near-identical records.

Hall has won 16 times and drawn once in 19 contests while Ward has won 18 of his 20 appearances.

The Darlington fighter has the better KO percentage, stopping seven of his victims compared to four for Ward.

But despite the similar stats, Hall is adamant he is at a superior level to the Neil Fannan and Dave Garside southpaw.

“Malinga said that I hit harder than [world number one] Leo Santa Cruz,” he said.

“That’s not a bad compliment.

“Santa Cruz didn’t put Malinga down, but I did.

“But I won’t be complacent, I want to keep my belt.

“I’m in better condition than what I was for the Malinga bout and I’m a better fighter now

“Everything has gone perfectly.

“I know what Martin is capable of. I am going to drag him in to places he has never been before.

“I am now world class and I’ll prove I’m world class.

“I know I am going to beat him.”