Promoters Asif Vali and Dennis Hobson Jnr have had a turbulent two years between them.
Vali, having left Amir Khan Promotions, set up on his own. And Hobson Jnr invested in former IBF champ Andy McDonnell from the start, making him into a IBF world champion only for him to jump ship at the first opportunity and join rival Sky promoter Eddie Hearn which to me I think was a bit disloyal considering Hobson bank rolled the whole affair and was then left holding the whole bill.
It should be noted that McDonnell has since been stripped of the IBF title due to not defending it within the time limit specified. And rightly so. This is karma at its best.
Vali and Hobson Jnr are truly what I call the nice guys of professional boxing and well deserve a break in this business.
God must have heard my call! Not only did these two guys get together but also they worked out a deal with Darlington’s bantamweight Stuart Hall and Vusi Malinga of South Africa (a two time world title challenger) so that they could fight for the vacant IBF championship which was staged on 21st December 2013 in the new state of the art Leeds First Direct Arena.
This included a collaboration with Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions and also with the BoxNation TV network. And boy what a night that was. In front of a packed crowd of 7000 alongside a UK boxing star studded cast which included Frankie Gavin, Paul McCloskey, Gary Sykes and top prospect Justin Newell, Stuart Hall fought the fight of his life in a 12 round gruelling battle to become Britain’s newest world champion.
It is stories like these that make you think that through all adversity there is always light at the end of the tunnel and that good guys don’t always come last.
Newly crowned champ Stuey Hall’s Leeds trainer Michael Marsden, also got the plaudits for becoming one of the country’s newest world championship coaches which is quite an achievement in itself.
This is also good news for Leeds as it puts the city on the map for further championship events, which are sure to follow.
But, and this is a big but, Vali and Hobson Jnr should not rest on their laurels too long as this business is quite ruthless and unforgiving and rivals will be only too quick to pull them back down again.
But you have to take your hats off to them for being fair, honest and loyal to the people they work and deal with. This is a rarity in this profession, trust me. The benefits are starting to come through so they must be doing something right.
Dennis and Asif, congratulations are in order.