DARLINGTON, COUNTY DURHAM – Stuart Hall outworked Brampton’s Josh Wale over 12 rounds Friday, in a tough old slog of a bantamweight contest at the Dolphin Centre. Hall, 32, led from start to finish before an adoring home crowd, clinching the vacant Commonwealth title in the process and with it some traction, after having slipped to recent defeats against world rated duo Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins.
Hall, 14-2-1 (7), began sniping from range with his gloves cupped up around his head yet copped a stiff right hand from Wale, 14-5-1 (7), against the ropes that ruffled him temporarily. Hall, though, remained in control of matters and he repeatedly walked Wale backwards onto the strands with stiff left jabs. The visitor, 24, appeared half-asleep at times and his method was difficult to fathom. He would repeatedly back-up unnecessarily and then push with his punches when countering while looking down towards the canvas. The kindest suggestion is that he was watching his opponent’s lead foot, which he still stamps with when jabbing.
Hall struggled to let go with his right hand through the opening quarter yet teed off with a corker to begin round 4. Wale is nothing if not tough, though. The scrappy Yorkshireman makes up for deficiencies in technique with an innate toughness and a willingness to keep launching himself at his foe, come what may.
Wale pinned Hall to the ropes in the 5th, yet was largely hitting gloves and arms while Hall, comfortable under pressure, picked him off smartly with short counter uppercuts. Buoyed by his success up close, Hall moved inside in the next and proved to have all the answers at short range, too.
The latter half of the contest featured no end of endeavour on Wale’s part, yet he missed often whereas Hall was far more accurate. “Stuey” put his foot on the accelerator in rounds 9 and 12, yet was unable to budge his man who appeared aggrieved at the scoring of 120-108, 120-110 and 119-110 (TQBR gave Hall every round).
Unbeaten Easington welterweight Paul Archer strolled to win number six against Worcester journeyman Billy “Gypsy Boy” Smith. Smith put up more resistance against BBBofC officials than he did Archer after the bout was initially announced as being over 4x3s (hastily changed to two minute rounds).
Darlington livewire Neil Hepper, 4-2, rebounded from a pair of consecutive defeats to local rival Gary Fox with a wild and woolly welterweight win over Lithuanian import Arturas Zbarauskas, 0-4. Physically, Hepper looked in fine fettle but his head movement requires work and the solid-looking Zbarauskas landed his fair share of humdingers despite going down 40-36 on the cards.
Middlesbrough duo Shafiq “Chubzy” Asif, 6-0 (1), and Mohammed Waqas, 4-0, both shut out their opponents in four rounders further down the bill. Asif (144 ½) took care of Tamworth’s Matt Seawright (142 ¼) while Waqas (114 ¾) outworked Wolverhampton’s Delroy Spencer (117 ¾). Both prospects showed promise yet Spencer’s continuing ability to provide rookies with regular work (this was his 16th points defeat in 17 losses this year alone) without getting hurt is an art in itself.
Promoter: Dennis Hobson/Super Fight Promotions