SAM NOAKES HAS vowed to shed the self-imposed shackles and return to his explosive, swashbuckling self when he returns to the ring at the OVO Arena, Wembley on March 19.

The lightweight force of nature stepped up the rounds and moved into the business of winning titles last time out in December at the Copper Box where he defeated Shaun Cooper in nine rounds with the WBC International Silver title at stake.

The stoppage win took him to 8-0 with all of his wins coming via KO, but this one lasted four rounds longer than his previous longest stay of five rounds in the ring. Going beyond five took him into uncharted territory.

“Yeah I had never been past six before that,” reflected Sam, who takes on Vincenzo Finiello in a first defence of his title at Wembley. “It was alright, I think I was more focused on the rounds than before because normally you would do a six then jump up to an eight and I went straight into a 10.

“So it was in my head but, obviously in this next one, I know I have got them in the bank. It stands me in good stead.”

Sam, 24, concedes that his focus was more on pacing himself than his customary freestyling that has so much caught the eye since he made his debut in September 2019.

“Er, yeah I would have said so. Obviously with the first time making championship weight as well, you don’t know how your body is going to react. I felt good, but mentally and physically is a completely different thing.

“You know what, it isn’t much difference to making 62.5kg, it is just another day of sh*t really and I made it relatively easy anyway. It is always nicer putting weight on than losing it though.

“The whole camp leading up felt a bit more meaningful with the title and that. It is mad to see how quickly I got there really, especially with the lockdown as well, so I am very happy with that.”

Turning a critical eye on himself, Noakes says his principal takeaway from the fight is not to stray from what has marked him out as one to watch.

“If I was being critical, I wasn’t my normal aggressive self, I would say. It was just the jump from six to 10 and not knowing how you will react. I didn’t want to go in all guns blazing and then get to six and think ‘I am a little bit tired here’.

“It was a good learning fight and exactly what it needed to be really.

“I would say I was a bit too cautious and I might have overthought it a little bit. I got through it in the end and I will learn from it. I will put on an explosive performance on this next show and put myself back in good stead.

“It will be the old me! It is nice to be able to do a bit of both, but you can’t change your identity and I’ve got to be what got me to being a pro in the first place.

“It is about going all out and, now I’ve got those rounds in the bank, I will just go back to that.

“You’ve got to be yourself and there is nobody better at being you than you!”

Tickets for an incredible night of Championship boxing at the OVO Arena are on sale now available at

EUROPEAN WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION David Avanesyan returns to the ring on March 19 at the OVO Arena, Wembley with a defence of his title on a night of multiple championship clashes at the historic London venue. Avanesyan takes on the unbeaten Finn Oskari Metz, 15-0, in what will be a fifth defence of his EBU belt.

An array of the country’s finest young prospects/contenders feature on the card, headed by Hamzah Sheeraz (14-0, 10 KOs), the WBO European super welterweight champion, who will take on Jez Smith (13-4-1, 6 KOs) for the WBC International Silver middleweight title in a fight that is sure to bring fireworks and a tough welcome to a new division.

Thrilling bantamweight star Dennis McCann is entering into title business for the first time. ‘The Menace’ (11-0, 6 KOs) will fight for the WBO Youth world title over eight rounds against Charles Tondo (12-4-2, 5 KOs), a southpaw from Tanzania.

The two leading young lightweights in Britain are also in action at Wembley, with Mark Chamberlain (9-0, 6 KOs) taking on a 10-rounder for the first time and Sam Noakes (8-0, 8 KOs) making a first defence of his WBC International Silver title against the Italian Vincenzo Finiello (15-4-2, 1 KO).

Further title action comes with relentless featherweight star Louie Lynn (10-0, 7 KOs) defending his WBC International Silver belt for a second time against James Beech jr (14-2, 2 KOs) from Bloxwich.

Completing the card, gifted super lightweight prospect Henry Turner (6-0) will have a fourth six-rounder, explosive super feather Masood Abdullah (3-0, 3 KOs) goes in with Engel Gomez (8-4, 4 KOs) over six rounds and super lightweight Sonny Liston Ali (2-0) fights Birmingham’s Sean Davis (14-18), also in a six-rounder.

In four-round action, Khalid Ali (1-0, 1 KO) will look to double his win tally against Kris Pilkington (2-10-1). Finally, Frank Warren gets to unleash his latest young star onto the professional ranks, with two-time European championship gold medallist Royston Barney-Smith making his pro debut, having turned 18 in January.

Tickets for an incredible night of Championship boxing at the OVO Arena are on sale now available at

Images are free to use, please credit: Queensberry Promotions.

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