Stuart Hall to defend IBF title against local rival Martin Ward on March 29

30/01/2014 17:51

IBF bantamweight champion Stuart Hall will make his first defense against fellow County Durham native Martin Ward on March 29 in Newcastle, Hall's promoter Dennis Hobson confirmed.

"It's the first time in history that two guys from the Northeast will be fighting for a major title," said Hobson. "Martin Ward, he's a traveler so I think there's a bit of needle between them. I think the press conferences and face-offs should be quite interesting. I think it's going to generate a lot of interest."

The 33-year-old Hall won the vacant title with a dramatic unanimous decision victory over Vusi Malinga last month. Hall (16-2-1, 7 knockouts) got off to an early lead after dropping Malinga in Round 3 but fought the final three rounds virtually blind from cuts and swelling.

Ward (18-2, 4 knockouts), who lives just 30 minutes down the road in West Rainton, won the British Commonwealth bantamweight title in his last fight and has now won two straight since being stopped in five rounds by Lee Haskins in April. Haskins also owns a 2012 victory over Hall.