Stuart Hall: IBF Bantamweight champion to be 'more active'

Stuart Hall says he will fight more often now he is the IBF world champion.

The Darlington bantamweight became the oldest British fighter to win a world title at the first attempt when, aged 33, he beat Vusi Malinga in December.

Making history

Stuart Hall (left) and Martin Ward (right) pose after their world title fight is announced

When Stuart Hall defends his IBF crown against Durham's Martin Ward at the Newcastle arena, it will be the first all-North East world title fight.

Hall only turned professional in 2008, and his defence against Martin Ward on 29 March, will be just his 20th bout.

"I'll definitely be more active now. My training has shown I'm fitter than ever - I think that's me thriving off being a world champion," he told BBC Sport.

Hall's victory over South African Malinga ended the north east's 25-year wait for a world champion, the last being Durham's Glenn McCrory who won the IBF world cruiserweight crown in 1989.

McCroy walked Hall to the ring for his title shot in Leeds before watching him overcome a damaged left eye late in the fight.

"I couldn't see out of that eye for the last three rounds," Hall explained.

"That took a few weeks to clear up but it's back to normal. To be honest, during the fight I surprised myself at how hard I was.

"But you never give up on your dream and that made me dig in."

Hall will take on Commonwealth champion Ward at the Newcastle arena

"When it comes to fighting Martin, there's no way he's taking this belt off me - I've worked too hard to get it."