Boxing: Hall's 'real-life Rocky story' ends in epic title victory
STUART HALL completed what had seemed an unlikely journey to world title glory in the early hours of yesterday morning, giving his all against South African Vusi Malinga to claim the vacant International Boxing Federation bantamweight title in Leeds.
The 33-year-old's life-changing turnaround with a devoted career in boxing after a self-confessed drink-and-drug binge for several years in Ibiza was described by his promoter Dennis Hobson as a "real-life Rocky story".
Hall, who didn't take up boxing until he was 28, began brightly, taking the fight to his rival and winning the opening rounds, putting Malinga on the seat of his pants with a right down the pipe in the third, but he had to contest the last three rounds with his left eye closed and swollen and with a cut over his right eye which later required stitches.
Never, though, did his focus waver, or his grittiness or determination diminish. When the going got tough, he backed Malinga onto the ropes and threw combinations which caught the eye.
His relentlessness earned him a unanimous points win in a genuine 12-round battle in which both men rarely paused for breath.
The judges' scorecards reflected the Darlington man's endeavour with 116-111, 117-110, 117-110 returned by the triumvirate. (© Daily Telegraph, London)