By Jon Briggs: Rakeem Noble takes a step up in class Saturday night in Hull when he goes toe to toe with Tommy Coyle in front of the Sky Sports camera’s. The former super-lightweight Southern Area champion got the nod for this fight three weeks ago and as you can imagine he didn’t have to think twice before accepting the offer.
Rakeem (11-1) picked up the Southern Area strap at the York Hall in March 2016 with a KO win over fellow unbeaten hopeful Sohail Ahmad. He went on to defend the belt by beating Kay Prospere over ten rounds in October 2016. Early in 2017 Rakeem felt after one defence of the title the time was right to vacate and plan his next move up the British rankings. Rakeem gets the impression everything has just fallen into place at the right time for this fight.
“I was scheduled for a mandatory defence early this year and if I had taken that fight I wouldn’t be fighting on Saturday and would have missed this opportunity. I vacated the Southern Area title in January as I wanted to move on from that level and push for an English title opportunity.
“I felt I had proved myself at Southern Area title level after winning two tough fights and wanted to push on and move myself up the ladder and was hoping for the English title shot in maybe April or May,” Rakeem goes onto have a small peak into his future should he beat Coyle in his own backyard on Saturday night. “Winning a fight like this can change your career overnight, people have said winning this fight could open doors up for a British title shot.”
Tommy Coyle (22-4) was originally matched against Kofi Yates who pulled out of the fight leaving the door open for Rakeem. “It was a Monday morning and my manager Steve Goodwin messaged me saying ‘Can you be ready to fight Tommy Coyle in three weeks?’ I was like ‘Yes’ that was perfect timing for me as I had just come back from a training camp in Thailand. Fortunately, we have been sparring since January so I had found my sharpness and my range before I went to Thailand.
“Training in Thailand was an amazing experience and I was in the gym with Chokchai Chockvivat who fought Manny Pacquiao for the OPBF title in 1997. Everything has just fallen in place for this fight.”
“I was fit and ready to fight with three weeks’ notice I just had to tailor my training for Tommy. There’s no reason I can’t be on my best form on Saturday. If I’m not ready to take a fight like this at three week’s notice then when the hell will I ever be ready?”
Boxing often throws up chances like this where a late substitute gets the opportunity to de-throne an established, well-seasoned fighter. Sean Dodd is a fine example of this, he beat Gary Buckland in 2015 after being drafted in at late notice and he hasn’t looked back since. Rakeem is aiming to grab this opportunity with both gloves!
“I am extremely confident coming into this fight. I’ve had one of the best camps possible. Fighters always say I will fight anyone, anywhere, well it’s occasions like this you get the chance to prove that and step up to the mark.
“I have already fought on small hall shows and sold the tickets, fought the journeymen, done the apprenticeship and then won and defended the Southern Area title. Now it’s time for me to step up and take bigger risks in my career. I would rather take this fight than take an easy fight against a journeyman. This fight is a real challenge but If I perform on the day, I will win!”