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Sam Noakes exclusive: Mendy’s never been stopped – it’s time to show what I’m about

Denzel Bentley

Boxing

Sam Noakes exclusive: Mendy’s never been stopped – it’s time to show what I’m about

Sam Noakes exclusive: Mendy’s never been stopped – it’s time to show what I’m about

Sam Noakes’ rapid rise continues this weekend as he fights Yvan Mendy for the vacant European lightweight title. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

It is only two months since Noakes won the British title by stopping Lewis Sylvester in four rounds but he was quickly back in the gym preparing for his headline appearance this weekend.

The quick turnaround wasn’t a problem for 26-year-old Noakes, 13-0 (13 KO’s), who has a habit of taking on sporting challenges on short notice.

“I’m not really a complex fellow”

“In the first lockdown, I finished a night shift and I’d been eating a lot of s**t. I thought, ‘You know what? I’m gonna do a long run tomorrow.’ One of the boys said he’d come with me on the bike and asked how far I’d do. I said maybe twenty miles and he said if I was going that far, I might as well do a full marathon. I thought, ‘That’s a very good point.’ So we ended up doing it. With no training I think I did 3 hours 14 minutes,” Noakes told 32Red.

“I did the official marathon in Brighton and ended up dropping all my gels at the first mile. I’ve never had cramp like it. The last three miles I could barely move. I was gutted. I was on for a 2.40 or 2.45.

“I’m not really a complex fellow. There isn’t really a lot going on in my head to be honest. When I’m running I daydream. I think about fights or winning world titles and before you know it the runs done. I’m pretty good at drifting off.

“I’m better when I haven’t got time to think. If it ever comes on top, that ain’t a problem. Biting down on the gumshield is the easy bit for me.”

Mendy was only confirmed as Noakes’ opponent three weeks ago. The Frenchman is an ultra experienced fighter who was boxing at the highest level before Noakes even turned professional. He has never been stopped in 55 fights and has held the prestigious European title before.

“It’s a brilliant fight for me”

He is a clever, sharp fighter rather than a tough brawler so whilst Noakes may not have to bite down on his gumshield and get involved in a war this weekend, he may need to steel himself for some tricky, frustrating moments. It is a sign of his confidence – and that of his team – that he is willing to take on a quality operator like Mendy on short notice.

“I found out probably about three weeks before the fight,” Noakes said. “Then they mentioned maybe fighting for the European title next, in July. Then they decided to ask if we wanted to fight for it now against Mendy. We knew the fight date and I’m always training hard and in the gym anyway. As far as opponents go, I’ve never been one to call people out or pick people out. I’ve always said that if Al [Smith, his trainer] picks the fight, I’ll fight. I’m always fit and ready. I’m just champing at the bit now.

“It’s a brilliant fight for me and the right time. Everybody talks about winning world title when they start boxing but I think this is a great chance for me to show where I’m at and what I’m about. I’m really looking forward to doing it.”

Noakes may be competing for a vacant belt this weekend but he does have something to defend; his record of having stopped every professional opponent he has faced. Boxing fans tune in expecting excitement and Noakes has yet to disappoint. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the pressure of maintaining that record began to tell but Noakes insists that he isn’t going to change a thing but acknowledges that Mendy looks like providing him with his toughest test yet.

“In the politest way possible, Mendy’s had his time”

Sam Noakes

“I think it’s just me. I don’t really think of it. Obviously I’d like the stoppages to keep coming but someday I’m going the distance. I just focus on the win really, that’s what I want the most. Once I’ve hurt someone, I smell blood and just get on them.

“Mendy’s never been stopped. Obviously, he’s gonna know what it’s about and have a few tricks up his sleeve but in the politest way possible, he’s had his time. I think now it’s time to show what I’m about, get the belt and keep winning. It’s gonna be tough. I’ve definitely got a minimum of eight rounds coming up in my head.”

If Noakes does wake up on Sunday morning as the unbeaten British, Commonwealth and European champion, he may just refrain from jumping up to do impromptu marathons or pestering his team for his next opponent and reflect on what he has accomplished over the past twelve months.

“To be honest, everything has moved so fast. I only found out about that British title six weeks out and then straight after that I’m back in camp,” he said. “I’ve not really had time to sit down and think about it. After this one – and if I can win in good fashion – I think I’ll be flying. I think it’s all sort of moving in the right direction.”

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