British bantamweight champion Stuart Hall defends his title against John Donnelly at the Rainton Meadows Arena in Sunderland tonight, and the Darlington champion knows any slip ups against his Liverpool challenger, would put paid to any hopes of challenging Jamie McDonnell for the European title in the summer.

British bantamweight champion Stuart Hall

Hall 31, in the third defence of the title he took from Ian Nappa last year. Hall is the heavy favorite to win here and claim the Lonsdale belt outright with the required hatrick of defences needed to always own the prestigious strap.

The champion was a late starter to the pro ranks and as racked up 11 fights, 10 wins and a draw in his three years as a professional. His last two fights and defences of the title were stoppage wins over Martin Power and Gary Davies and knows he could be a win away from a potential clash with European king McDonnell from Doncaster.

Promoter Frank Maloney has stated that as the promoter of both Hall and McDonnell, that he believes he can make such a match-up provided Hall comes through this defence against John Donnelly. He is very keen on the fight that he believes will capture public’s imagination, but is apparently yet to approach McDonnell’s manager Dennis Hobson until this fight is over with.

Hall is currently ranked fifth by the EBU and hopes that Donnelly can be persuaded to make a voluntary defence against him, that would be a great match-up to prove the best domestic bantamweight, currently contested by the two.

“Jamie has done so well upsetting top fighters, but he still has to prove he is the best in Britain.” said Hall who has been described recently as the North-East boxing’s flag bearer.

Full Interview with Stuart Hall prior to fight with Donnelly

Donnelly’s credentials had been brought into doubt prior to the fight being made, due to his lack of quality opponents, but with the British bantamweight division not bursting with notable challengers, Donnelly 26, has had 13 bouts, losing once and isnt considered a threat to Hall who is expected to retain by most peoples analysis.

But the proud scouse challenger is warning that he shouldn’t be under estimated and that he is under no pressure, vowing to shock Hall and take his crown insisting that it is Hall who will be the one with it all to lose, thus under all the pressure.

“He is already looking towards his next opponent, which has spurred me on,” said Donnelly.

“It has taken all the pressure off my shoulders, I’ve got nothing to lose but he has.There is more pressure on his shoulders, he’s in his backyard with 2,000 fans, I go there without a care in the world because I know I’ve trained hard and am razor sharp.” Donnelly added.

Karl Place

Karl Place the light-welterweight prospect from Manchester who is looking to have a busy 2011 – sticks to them plans tonight two months after his last fight against Danny Dontchev, when he takes on native Northeast boxer George Watson in his first scheduled 8 rounder.

The fight, to Place’s fortune has been promoted to chief support to Stuart Halls British title defence against John Donnelly and is now likely to be shown on Sky Sports live coverage, giving the fans another chance to see the highly touted Manc talent.

Watson 27, (13-3, 1KO) is stepping up in weight since his last fight against Carl Johanneson in January, where he put on a brave showing against the Leeds man, before losing on points over the eight rounds. Being the house fighter will be a factor Watson will hope can push him to upset the apple cart and Places unbeaten record.

Place, (12-0, 7KO’s) a tough uncompromising boxer likes to mix it up in a fight but has a good range of skills and can box well on the back foot. Place trained by Stephen Maylett at his Finest Gym in Manchester has been working on tactics and new skills for this fight with them having the unusual six weeks preparation for an opponent. Place has regularly taken fights late or opponents have pulled out at the last minute, which as been frustrating for him.

“We have worked on lots of new things in this fight camp and I’m hoping Karl can produce them on Saturday night in the fight.” said Maylett.

“We have watched Watson fight on tape, but he would have seen Karl too – George has had the six weeks to prepare for the fight aswell and so we wont leave anything to chance.

“Karl will be the away fighter and the crowd will be behind George but that wont bother him, Karl will just thrive off that and we are used to it from the amateurs being the away fighter, we have a good few coming over from Manchester to support Karl and I’m confident of a win.” added Maylett.

Video Profile of Karl Place in training

The undercard also features former ABA champion Joe Hughes (2-0) and Sunderland’s former amateur star Glenn Foot (3-0).

The fights will be shown Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm Tonight.
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