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UK Boxing: Adam Little; Stuart Hall; Katie Taylor



ADAM LITTLE is confident he’ll be able to make a major impact in the welterweight division when he returns to action this spring.

The Ricky Hatton-trained prospect, 22, is currently recovering after having surgery to rectify a persistent hand injury and he feels he’ll show a different side to his game when gets back into the ring.

Firstly he’s targeting a shot at the Central Area crown, but he believes the sky is the limit.

“For the majority of last year I impressed people but I was basically one-handed. I think people will see what I’m really about when I start using both my fists,” he said.

“We’ve discussed titles already and it’s something I definitely want this year.

“I think we’ll start with the Central Area title and then just plough into it and take the welterweight division on.”

Despite his desire to get to the top, Little is smart enough to know he still has things to learn.

“I’m not rushing things, I’ve got plenty of time on my side. It’s all about learning and taking the opportunities at the right time,” he said.

“There’s a lot of good fighters in division so winning titles is going to be difficult, but with the right training I’m confident that I can push on.

“Me and Ricky know what to do with certain opponents and we’ll work on a game plan for them.”

Adam added: “I’m really excited about this year. I can’t wait to get back in the ring. It feels like I’ve been out for ages so I’m itching to box again and show people what I’m capable of.”

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IMPROVING HALL RELISHING HOME TITLE DEFENCE

If the going gets tough, Darlington’s Stuart Hall knows he will be able to call on the crowd when he makes the first defence of his Commonwealth bantamweight title in his hometown’s Dolphin Centre on March 9.

‘Stuey’ never got out of first gear when he won the belt at the same venue last November against Barnsley’s Josh Wale. This time around Hall faces tough Ghanaian, Isaac Nettey, on the Dennis Hobson Promotions’ show and is expecting a hard test.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere last time,” recalled former British champion Hall, who has lost just two of 17 fights. “It was fantastic and just what I needed.

“I cruised through that last fight and there weren’t many tough times when I needed the crowd, but we don’t know much about this African.

“There could be tough rounds when I need the crowd behind me, and I think we’ll get even more fans in this time, and it’ll be even louder.”

Nettey is a 30-fight veteran who has lost just eight fights and has been the distance with former world title challenger, Leicester’s Rendall Munroe.

The African, on the back of a seven-bout winning streak, will arrive in England in great form and Stuart, although confident, knows he cannot afford to take his eye off the ball.

“I don’t know much about him. He’ll be durable though, we know that from his performance against Munroe, and he’s won his last seven with four KOs.

“That’s all I know, so I’m fighting blind really. He looks tough; I’ve seen a picture of him and he looks quite scary! But as long as I’m the best I can be then everything should go fine.

“He’s never been stopped so a stoppage would be fantastic but I just want to go in there and win. If I get another 12 rounds under my belt that will be great.”

If he does win, Hall is looking forward to an exciting future, with promoter Dennis Hobson planning an ambitious 2013 for the North East man.

After two unsuccessful attempts at European honours, against Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell and Bristol’s Lee Haskins, Hobson is hoping to manouvere Hall into a third crack at the belt – something the 32-year-old would relish.

“Another shot at the European would be the icing on the cake. If I can win this fight and get [champion] Stephane Jamoye that would be fantastic. I’m not getting any younger and I want to push on because I am improving. I don’t just want to defend the Commonwealth; I want to try and win the European and, fingers crossed, get another shot at Jamie McDonnell.

“That last Euopean shot [against Haskins] I blew and didn’t deserve to win. Looking back though, I’ve learnt off my two losses and gained experience. I’d be more than happy to fight Haskins again if he comes through Martin Ward. That’d be a brilliant return for me and I’d be so confident of beating him next time.”

Stuart Hall will defend his Commonwealth bantamweight title against Issac Nettey at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre on March 9. The show’s undercard will feature a number of talented North East fighters, including former Commonwealth featherweight champion Paul Truscott; Darlington’s Neil Hepper; Middlesbrough’s Shafiq Asif; Spennymoor’s Ben Jackson, and County Durham’s Tommy Ward.

For ticket information contact 0782 4466 535 or the Dolphin Centre on 01325 388406.

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Taylor hoping to recreate Olympic atmosphere at Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Sunday

Katie Taylor is hoping that her fans can recreate just a sample of the atmosphere that saw her win Gold at last years Olympics when she takes on two weight German Champion, Maike Klueners at a sold out Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin this Sunday night.

Klueners faces the daunting task of literally taking to the stage at the 2,000 seater Daniel Liebeskind designed Theatre as she as she steps into the ring to take on a national treasure. Taylor famously added the Olympic Gold medal last year to an honours list that includes an incredible four World Championship Golds and 5 European titles. Her quest for precious metal remains diminished and the Bray woman has set her long term sights on another Gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Sunday’s bout with Klueners is the first of two bouts at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre with a second bout scheduled for the same venue on Friday, March 24th against Ukrainian champ Yulia Tsiplakova. Taylor says she is looking forward to getting back in the ring and shedding the ring rust accumulated since London. “It’s probably the longest layoff I’ve had since I started boxing.” admitted the 26-year-old. “I only took a few weeks off after the Olympics and I’ve been back training for quite a while now so I just can’t wait to get back in the ring again. Boxing in front of a home crowd is always so special and after all the support I’ve received since the Olympics I want to repay that by putting in some big performances in these upcoming fights.”

Promoter Brian Peters has promised an action packed event on Sunday, “Pete Taylor has put together an excellent 10 bout card,” revealed Peters. Obviously Katie is the star of the show but she will be ably supported by two time Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes and Katie’s Olympic and Bray boxing club team mate Adam Nolan.

“The card will feature the full spectrum of amateur boxing right down to two 10 year old girls having their first ever exhibition bout so in 10 years time they could be the emerging Katie Taylor’s of the future. As well as the boxing we want to tell Katie’s incredible story throughout the night and also get the crowd involved and really give people a night to remember.”

The event will be hosted by television and radio presenter Aidan Power while filmmaker Ross Whitaker who recently won an IFTA for the documentary “When Ali came to Ireland” has put together some exclusive video content for the event detailing Taylor’s punishing training regime and a revealing interview with Taylor. Those in attendance on Sunday night will also be in a position to take home two unique mementos of the occasion. Artist Michael Hanrahan will paint a scene from Katie’s fight as it happens with the completed painting given away to a member of the audience while the Olympic champion will also present her gloves from the bout to a lucky audience member following the bout.

Of course Taylor’s opponent on the night, Maike Klueners is planning on playing the role of party pooper and said. “Katie is the best female fighter in the world today but she is human too and boxing is a sport where anything is possible. I know it won’t be easy but I have a brave heart and I believe I will be a very dangerous opponent for Katie.”

Doors open at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on 5 at Sunday with the first bout at 5:30 and Katie Taylor expected in the ring at approximately 9pm.

The full lineup for Sunday is:

Bout 1: Regan Buckley (Bray) V Mannion Collins (Trinity Boys)
Bout 2: Casey Berry (Bray) V Leigh Moran (Illies GG)
Bout 3: Kaci Rock (Bray) V Leah Farley Crumlin)
Bout 4: Sam Carroll (Bray) V Johnny O’Keefe Trinity Boys)
Bout 5: Tommy Maughan (Trinity Boys) V Martin Collins (Trinity Boys)
Bout 6: Richie Hedderman (Bray) V Diego Capocci (Neilstown)
Bout 7: Craig Bonney (Trinity Boys) V Michael McGrane (Crumlin)
Bout 8: Paddy Barnes (Holy Family) V Aidan Metcalfe (Crumlin)
Bout 9: Adam Nolan (Bray) V Martin Wall (Crumlin)
Bout 10: Katie Taylor (Bray, Ireland) V Maike Klüners (Düsseldorf, Germany)

Tickets for Katie Taylor’s second bout at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Friday, March 22nd are priced from €40 (with a discount available for under 14′s) and on sale from Ticketmaster.ie (0818 719 377) or the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Box Office.