Noble has high hopes for Coyle clash

James Oddy
21/02/2017 7:28pm

Late substitute Rakeem Noble is confident he can pull off an upset against Tommy Coyle on Saturday night, as he explains to James Oddy...

Boxing is littered with examples of late substitutes upsetting their more fancied opponents.

A man looking to do just that is Londoner Rakeem Noble (11-1, 5 KOs), the 27-year-old Southern Area super lightweight champion who fights Tommy Coyle this Saturday in Coyle’s hometown of Hull, on the undercard of Gavin McDonnell’s WBC world title fight against Rey Vargas.

“I got a call on a Monday morning saying: 'would you be ready in three weeks to fight Tommy Coyle? Kofi Yates has pulled out.'" the 27-year-old recalls. "On my own initiative I’ve been keeping myself fit and ready, so I said yeah, I’ll take that in an instant. I’m more than ready for this opportunity.”

Far from a negative, Noble sees the late notice as one of his biggest trump cards.

“Tommy Coyle has been on the scene for years," he explains. "

We’ve all seen him fight, on Sky Sports, YouTube. We all know his fighting style and what he’s about. Whereas me, on smaller shows, there’s not much video footage of me, nobody really knows who I am. I carry much more surprises. With me in London and him from Yorkshire, so far away, not many people will be able to give him a lowdown on me as a fighter."

Coyle is well known for being in fun, toe-to-toe fights, and Noble doesn’t expect any different come Saturday.

“I think it’ll be entertaining," he admits. We both like to come forward and give it a go. Neither of us really likes to take a step back. But the element is the surprise, that’s my key to success.”

Super lightweight is very strong domestically, with an exciting blend of established talent and any number of young fighters bubbling under. Noble is aware of the importance of a win on Saturday.

“This is a case of an up-and-coming fighter against an established fighter. One trying to push his way in and another trying to push his way back into contention. Whoever wins this is in the mix. You’ve got [Jack] Catterall, Ohara Davies, and Tyrone Nurse. We are all pushing into that.”

Noble has come into his own over his last two fights, against Sohail Ahmad for the vacant Southern Area title and in a defence against previously unbeaten Kay Prospere.

“I think it was excellent preparation," he argues. "If I am going to box against someone like Tommy Coyle who has been on the circuit a long time, I need a few credible wins under my belt. The last two fights, at Southern Area level, weren't easy fights; the board mandated one of them. And I went in as the underdog in both fights. The fact that I came out on top, in such a good fashion, shows that I am ready…

"The last two fights I’ve gone in with people thinking I won't come out on top. After these two fights, I’ve got lots of people paying attention to me. I’ve actually got more people believing I can win this fight than [those fights] before.”

Noble is overseen by the increasingly successful Goodwin promotions and he was quick to praise the work they have done for him.

“This is a brilliant opportunity. Out of nowhere I am fighting on the main undercard of a world title fight, on Sky Sports, against a well-known fighter. What more could I really ask for? What more could I really want? I’ve won the Southern Area title and defended it, and I wanted to move onto bigger things. It doesn’t get much bigger than on Sky Sports.”

Noble has only ever turned out at York Hall, and I was curious if he felt travelling and fighting in front of a hostile crowd would create an issue.

“As an amateur I went up and down the country taking fights at short notice, kind of like a road warrior fighter," he points out.." On many occasions, the first time I saw my opponent was when I stepped into the ring! Let’s go. For this fight, I’ll have to draw back on that experience and that feeling.”

Noble certainly seems more than ready for a fighter given little time to prepare and is clearly a man on a mission.

“This fight is a self-set goal. I always aimed to be fighting on big shows, on Sky Sports. Now my foot is in the door. I don’t intend to let it close on me. I’m forcing my way through - and if they won't let me in the front door, I’ll come in the back door!”