WHEN Stuart Hall and Martin Ward step into the ring at the Metro Arena tonight (Saturday, March 29) it will be the end of months of training and preparation. But what is it like to live with a professional athlete who must put their will to win before everything else? Vicki Henderson spoke to Emma Hall, Stuart’s wife, to find out.

WITH a full time job as a maternity assistant, often working 12 hour night shifts, and with two young children to care for, Emma Hall is busy at the best of times.

But when your husband is IBF bantamweight world champion boxer Stuart Hall, who spends up to ten weeks preparing for a big fight, life can get even more complicated.

“When he’s preparing for a fight, everything revolves around Stuart,” the 27-year-old admits.

“It’s hard work. He has quite strict training times and with his diet being so restricted he can’t really sit down and eat with us. I just do what I can to make sure things go as easy as possible for all of us so he doesn’t get stressed.”

Preparation for Darlington-based Stuart’s defence of his world title against West Rainton’s Martin Ward began just weeks after his win against South African Vusi Malinga in December.

The intense training and nutritional regime leaves the 34-year-old exhausted and leaves little time for relaxation with daughters Thea, five, and Rio, 18 months.

Emma says: “He’s been in training camp since January for this fight. The first couple of weeks aren’t too bad but then there’s ten weeks where we can’t go anywhere or really do anything.

“He just eats, sleeps and trains boxing.

“To be honest it is hard but I support him. He’s not always going to box so I just have to take it with a pinch of salt. It’s been our way of life for the last couple of years. ”

Stuart’s world champion status is a far cry from his rank when Emma met him nine years ago, when he was an amateur boxer dreaming of wearing an England vest in the ring.

She says: “He didn’t get that vest and after a couple of years he said: ‘I’m getting older, I’m going to give going pro a go before it’s too late’. That change obviously suited him and when he won the Lonsdale Belt I was so proud – for him to then go on to be world champion was unbelievable.

“It’s definitely worth all the hard work, I’m so proud of what he has achieved.”

*Don't miss our live coverage of Hall v Ward at northernecho.co.uk from 7pm tonight.