Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Stuart Hall drinks in success, but his partying is over

Changed man: Stuart Hall is world bantamweight champion

Britain's newest boxing world champion Stuart Hall is determined to consign his wild partying days to history and make the most of his unlikely reign as IBF bantamweight king.

Forty-eight hours after his bruising win over Vusi Malinga in Leeds, the 33-year-old still wore the scars of battle with his left eye still clamped closed and a total of 13 stitches in cuts.

But Hall, who only started his professional career at the age of 28 after spending much of his youth chasing highs in Ibiza, revealed he is yet to toast his victory with a drop of alcohol.

Hall said: "I went home after the fight and had four pints of orange juice. I will have some food and a few drinks on Christmas Day, but my body needs looking after now because I want to prolong my career.

"After my earlier fights I would go away on holidays, but I can't do that now. I've got to the top and this is where the hard work starts. It's been amazing since Saturday night and I'm still in cuckoo land. It's just starting to sink in."

In earning his unanimous decision win over Malinga the Darlington man became the oldest British fighter to win a world title at his first attempt –a remarkable achievement for a man who had long been regarded as an also-ran even at domestic level.

Now Hall finds himself holding all the aces and with plans already afoot for a likely first defence at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena in March.

Given the extent of his late-career achievements he might have been forgiving for wondering where he'd be had he applied himself to his sport earlier – but Hall insists there is nothing about his life story he would wish to change.

Hall added: "I am going to write a book about my life and when I do no-one will believe it – they will ask how on earth he became a British champion, let alone a world champion.

"I've done so many mad things in my life and I've experienced so much – lows and highs, fat and skinny – but I wouldn't give up any of it.

"I got stuck in once as an amateur and reached the ABA final, but the rest of the time I was just messing about. If I'd stuck at it properly maybe I would have got to the Olympics, but I could have been on the drink now.

"You can't just be an athlete all your life. I got it out of the way, I've done them and enjoyed them, I've started concentrating on boxing and I'm world champion."

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