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Sam Noakes exclusive: Everybody wants the stoppage!

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Sam Noakes exclusive: Everybody wants the stoppage!

Sam Noakes exclusive: Everybody wants the stoppage!

A young footballer doesn’t dream of tapping in a scruffy equaliser after a goalmouth scramble, he imagines crashing a thirty yard winner in off the crossbar. In their fantasies, an aspiring sprinter doesn’t win their Olympic gold medal in an unremarkable time. They smash the world record.

Boxers are no different. There won’t be a fighter on the planet who picture themselves having a title belt strapped around their waist after grinding out a safety first decision victory. Commonwealth champion, Sam Noakes, has stopped all 11 of his professional opponents. When he closes his eyes and thinks about a fight, he doesn’t have to wait for the judges’ scorecards. Sam Noakes fights Carlos Perez this weekend – for all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

“Listen, until I eventually go the distance it’s always gonna be in your head isn’t it? It’d be in every fighter’s head,” he told 32Red. “Everybody wants the stoppage. You never dream of going the full distance. Every time you have a daydream about a fight or a title, you always stop that geezer. I’ve obviously done it 11 times, it’d be a shame not to get the twelfth.

“Even if I have a rocky moment and get dropped a couple of times, you stop them late. Nobody ever dreams about going to points.”

Yes, a fighter who has stopped every opponent he has faced clearly has physical attributes like speed, timing and technique. But by the time you get to 11 out of 11, there has to be something extra. Something that can’t be taught. Noakes believes that the ability to finish a fight is an instinct you are born with rather than something that can be taught.

“I don’t mind rushing in and taking one”

Sam Noakes

“I’m a big believer that you’ve either got a punch or you ain’t. But for me it’s realising you’ve got them hurt and acting on that rather than maybe sitting off,” he said. “If I realise I’ve got somebody hurt, I don’t mind rushing in and taking one. I’d rather just get it done and it’s being able to smell that blood and go for it really.

“I just think it boils down to how competitive you are. You don’t know them but when you’re in the ring with somebody, you’re trying to beat them aren’t you and I want to win more than he does and I’ll show that by going at it 110%.”

There comes a point in a fighter’s career when you find yourselves matching them in imaginary fights. It might be because of their results or one particular talent they have. It might just be because they are exciting to watch. Noakes has reached that stage.

It is hard to speak to him without mentioning his fellow lightweights. Noakes and the heavy handed Mark Chamberlain – who added another knockout to his CV last week – seem to be on a collision course while British champion Gavin Gwynne’s challenge for the European title headlines this weekend’s show. Some fighters may get frustrated at constantly having to answer questions about other fighters rather than just being allowed to concentrate on their own career but Noakes understands the business and realises that rivalries will provide him with the big nights he wants.

“I’m hoping to start next year with a big fight”

Sam Noakes

“At the end of the day we’re all in this to make money so if them doing that makes more money then crack on,” he said.

“I think now we’re getting to that stage where the fights might be happening, it’s not annoying but when I was 4-0 and 5-0 and people were asking, come on, we might have to put the brakes on a bit here. I’m getting to that stage where I’m coming into my own and I’ll be getting those big fights. I’m hoping to start next year with a big fight and then just keep propelling myself to the top.”

Whether we see Noakes in with Chamberlain, Gwynne or somebody we haven’t yet thought of, he wants 2024 to be the year that he pushes himself towards the top of the lightweight division. Once he gets there, he won’t be looking backwards.

“I had Covid when I turned over and then broke my thumb. I should be on about 15 fights anyway, I’m 26 years of age so I’m ready to go. Everyone turns pro and they like all the lights and glamour and everyone wants to rush success but I always remember somebody telling me very early on that once you rush up, you can’t come down.”

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