Vusi Malinga training camp update
With just under two weeks to go until Stuart Hall and Vusi Malinga contest the vacant IBF bantamweight title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, Livefight called in to Lee Beard’s Stockport gym to see how the South African fighter’s preparations are progressing.
Having faced then WBC champion Hozumi Hasegawa in Kobe, Japan and former IBF king Leo Santa Cruz in California, facing Stuart Hall in Leeds is unlikely to faze Malinga, 21-4-1 (12 KO’s), too much but one of Beard’s most important tasks has been to ensure ‘Marvelous’ is as comfortable as possible in his new surroundings and able to concentrate fully on the task in hand.
“I’m enjoying myself here. It’s a good place and we are having a very good camp,” Malinga, 34, told Livefight. “Lee is a great guy and in fact he trains me just like my father did [Malinga’s father sadly died earlier this year]. He trains me very hard.”
Malinga was ringside for Saturday night’s bill at Liverpool’s Echo Arena and enjoyed sampling the unique British big fight atmosphere for himself.
“I enjoyed it. It was really good to go to the fights and see what the atmosphere will be like for my fight. I have fought in many places and with lots of people before though.
“I’m fortunate that my brother Patrick is here and I spoke to my uncle ‘Sugar Boy’ [the former WBC super middleweight who fought on these shores against the like of Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Robin Reid and Richie Woodhall] before and he told me that British guys are very strong fighters and train very hard so this is why we have come here early to prepare hard.
“I’ve already watched him [Hall] when he fought Jamie McDonnell. I know he is a boxer who is always coming forward. It will be an easy fight for me if he comes forward.
“I will be going home to eat my Christmas dinner with the belt!”
Patrick, who came up short in a challenge for Alex Arthur’s WBA intercontintal super featherweight title ten years ago, has high hopes that this trip will prove more successful.
“We have watched him [Hall] for a long time before we even came here. I think Vusi can win by knockout. Hall comes forward and is always right there in front of you.”
Malinga is a big bantamweight and featherweight Adrian Gonzalez, who has been sparring with the South African, praised his strength and relentless style of fighting. “He’s good,” Gonzalez said. “He can really hit for a bantamweight too. His punches aren’t the type that snap but every one is a thudding, hard punch. He’s very strong too and the punches don’t stop coming.”
South Africa may be famous for it’s beautiful Garden Route around the Western Cape but Malinga has become well acquainted with the equally picturesque [in it’s own way] M62 corridor between Manchester and Liverpool over the past few weeks, spending a good amount of time working with the talented team at Everton Red Triangle. Beard is happy with the team’s preparations so far.
“Vusi and Patrick are really nice people,” Beard said. “They are really friendly and very humble.
“I’d have to say it’s a fifty fifty-fight because Stuart’s virtually fighting at home and will have the crowd behind him but this is gonna be a real fight. He’s big for a bantamweight but Vusi is in top shape and is incredibly strong. He goes up through the gears through rounds four, five, six………”
I was hoping to avoid using a tired Christmas cliché but with Hall certain to be fired up for this once in a lifetime title shot, this really could be a cracker.
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