SAM NOAKES IS back in search of a perfect 10 when he makes his return at the 02 Arena on November 26 after making his recovery from a broken thumb, live on BT Sport.
Thrill-a-minute lightweight Sam was due to fight back in July before a sparring injury sustained while working with Archie Sharp put him on the missing list.
Now he is set to fight for the Commonwealth title against the unbeaten Scot Calvin McCord on the undercard of the big Zach Parker-John Ryder clash for the WBO Interim world super middleweight title.
“Camp was going well and I was sparring Archie,” reflected Noakes, 25. “I think it was the seventh or eighth round, right at the end, and I switched through, misjudged the distance and hit him on top of the head. I thought ‘that hurt’, then I carried on, hit a few jabs out and it was still hurting.
“So I stopped and they took my hand out of the glove and my thumb was wedged underneath. I went to the hospital and, after the x-ray, she called me straight in. I thought ‘this ain’t good’ because normally you are just sat there if it is not urgent and they just leave you there.
“I had snapped it with a clean break. At least you know where you stand with a clean break, it is sweet now, but it was a pain in the ar*e at the time and I wasn’t very happy!
“So I’ve been out for eight months and I’m an old has-been now… All forgotten about.”
“I’ve fallen on my feet here though, having the Commonwealth title, so I am happy with that.”
Noakes resisted the temptation of becoming a couch potato during his absence and hit the road to keep in trim.
“As soon as I got the solid cast on I was running straight away. If I had sat about eating when I came back I would be a middleweight! So I kept ticking over and I was lucky to only have it on for about four weeks. When it came off I was pushing weights and I was happy just to be back in the gym.
“I left it another couple of weeks before the punching, but you don’t normally punch people with your thumb. As long as I don’t do that again I reckon I’ll be sweet.”
And as he chases a perfect 10 wins with 10 KOs against a fellow unbeaten fighter, Noakes knows he has got no easy pickings.
“He’s got 12 wins so I know he is gonna be tough. He had a good amateur career as well and is a good opponent.
“It is nice to be in a more 50-50 fight, 12 rounds for the Commonwealth title and I am buzzing for it.
“I think their gameplan might be to get it done in the later rounds. He has got a good IQ with being 12-0 and been about. It is gonna be a good fight, I don’t know what he is going to do and I will have to suss it out on the night.
“I am looking forward to it. It gives you more of an edge because you can’t switch off against these people. He is unbeaten and he isn’t here to mess about. He is going to be training harder than he’s ever trained before, he will be up for it and it is a big occasion for the pair of us.
“I’m not overlooking anybody. I want that 10th knockout. I have been saying it since my debut and 10 wins with nine KOs will be very upsetting for me! I will be going out all guns blazing.
“It is a good learning fight for me and a good fight for the stage I am at. I am very thankful to my team for making it for the Commonwealth title and at a great venue. I am really excited for it.
“I will be back with a bang!”