Cut halts Ward's title bid

Stuart Hall retained the IBF bantamweight title after his clash with domestic rival Martin Ward ended in a technical draw due to a cut.

A clash of heads in the opening round opened up a nasty laceration above Ward's right eye and referee Marcus McDonnell waved the bout off shortly after the start of the second.

It meant the much-anticipated world title clash between two North East boxers in Newcastle ended in a disappointing anti-climax.

Hall was pressing the action in the first three minutes as the crowd at the Metro Radio Arena settled in for what was shaping up to be an exciting encounter.

As Hall lunged forward to try and land a shot Ward attempted to roll to the left and the heads came together accidentally.

There was immediate concern in the corner in the break between rounds and soon after the second started blood started to drip from the wound into Hall's eye.

After a short consultation with the corner McDonnell signalled the end of the bout to the frustration of all those in attendance.