Big Interview: Happy Hall bids to close in on major honours
Adam Lord speaks to Preston middleweight Mick Hall who knows victory at the Guild Hall next Saturday night will open up some big opportunities after a stop-start career.
Mick Hall’s ring journey has been anything but straightforward over the last few years.
Battles with drink and drugs, changes in management and training and extended time out have been par for the course since he turned professional in 2009.
Things are certainly coming together though with Neil Marsh looking after his career and Alan Levene his corner.
Having fought under the bright ITV lights in defeat to Jack Arnfield in January, the 30-year-old is back at his hometown Preston Guild Hall next Saturday night.
Barnsley’s Matthew Mallin will be in the opposite corner as a final eliminator for the English title headlines a big night of boxing.
“I’m content now with boxing,” said Hall, a talented footballer in his youth before getting the boxing bug at Larches and Savick ABC.
“I’m enjoying my training and my life.
“Nothing against it but I look around and see people stuck in nine-to-five jobs.
“I just sit back and think I’m lucky to be able to do what I do.
“They say if you find a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life again and that’s certainly true.”
It has taken time for things to settle down. Hall has fought just 15 times since making the transition into the paid ranks a little under eight years.
Now though, the Inspired Fitness gym in Kirkham has become his home.
“I was playing at the start and wasn’t enjoying it at all,” he said.
“I enjoyed the amateurs but when I turned pro, I stopped loving it.
“I had other problems as well and lost my way.
“I’ve found that love for boxing again though. I want to be active and need to be in the gym all the time. When I’m in the gym I’m happy.”
As well as being content with the team around him, Hall is far more mature than when he was making his way as a pro.
Ahead of turning 31 on Monday, he believes growing up has a lot to do with his new mindset.
“I only started feeling like a proper man at 28, 29,” Hall said.
“Now I’m fit and strong and between 30 and 35 I’m confident I’ll be feeling good.
“Everyone’s different but I know what I want in life now.
“You realise it’s time to put the work in to try and achieve something.
“I’d rather be a has-been than a could-have-been.
“I’ve got three little lads so when they get older it will be nice for them to say, ‘My dad did this and my dad did that’.”
Hall getting his head down has come in enough time to make a real name for himself in the sport.
He has lost two of his 15 fights, both to Blackpool rival Arnfield with the latest coming at the Guild Hall at the start of the year.
Hall was looking to avenge a loss in the shorter Prizefighter format back in 2015 but was pulled out by his corner before the final three minutes of their 12-round contest due to a swelling on his forehead.
The Preston man was fine though and looks back on the contest as a big night in his career.
“It was a massive learning fight,” said Hall.
“It was a confidence boost because it was the first time I’d gone that distance.
“I’d done it in sparring but it’s totally different when you’re in there on the night.
“I’d love a third fight but whether I get it is another matter.
“It would be a totally different fight if it happened again.
“On paper he’s won both so it’s difficult for me to push for it.”
Hall’s level-headed approach means not only is he looking on the bright side despite defeat in front his home crowd but he is confident it is the first of many nights like that to come.
“I’ve not been in hard fights,” he said.
“I never got hurt in the Arnfield fight despite what it looked like.
“You’ve got to aim for the top or else what’s the point in doing it?
“I want the British title and I’m only a couple of fights away really.
“I’ve just got to take it one step at a time.”
That first stage comes in seven days’ time when Hall looks to take a step closer to a shot at a prestigious title.
Joe Mullender is the current English middleweight champion after winning his rematch with Lee Markham, the pair having now shared the spoils in two battles.
Hall could be next for Mullender with a win over Mallin, a fight that would likely be televised.
“It’s a must-win fight,” said Hall.
“I’m not looking past this opponent but I know what could come from this.
“There are big things on the horizon.
“The English title is what you want first and then there’s the Commonwealth and British titles.
“The English title fight would be on TV too, which would be a big deal for me.
“Headlining a show in your home town in an English title eliminator is too.
“When I started boxing did I think I’d be headlining shows? No.
“I just did it for the love of it but who knows what can happen if you put the work in.”
Tickets are still available for the show next Saturday night, June 17.
Call Hall on 07375 747458, message him on Facebook or contact @mick_hall_ on Twitter.