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Maidstone boxers Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann to follow in Muhammad Ali's footsteps by fighting at the Royal Albert Hall

Maidstone boxers Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann are fighting at the Royal Albert Hall this month.

Noakes is set to make his professional debut at the historic London venue, where Muhammad Ali once boxed, while McCann is going for a fourth straight win.

Stablemates Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann are doing Maidstone proud
Stablemates Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann are doing Maidstone proud

Promoter Frank Warren has shown faith by including them on a televised bill topped by Nicola Adams' world title defence and heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois' Commonwealth title bid.

"I can't wait, I'm well excited," said Noakes, 22, who's due to fight Taka Bambere (1-10) over four light-welterweight rounds on Friday, September 27.

"There's a few shows around at the minute but when I heard there was one at the Albert Hall, I thought to myself, 'I definitely want to get on that one'.

"I'd have been happy to box anywhere but the Albert Hall is a dream come true.

"When you think Muhammad Ali boxed there, it's mad, absolutely mad."

Noakes signed a four-year deal with Warren after winning the national amateur title in April followed by gold on his England debut.

The former Westree boxer is working hard with new trainer Alan Smith in preparation for his pro bow.

With the date announced, he's weeks away from the biggest night of his boxing life.

Noakes said: "My phone's been going non-stop since I turned pro, especially after the posters for the fight came out.

"I've known about the date for a while but now it's been announced on Frank Warren's website, everyone's finding out.

"It's a bit weird see myself on the posters.

Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann will box at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London
Sam Noakes and Dennis McCann will box at the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London

"I think once I go to the weigh-in it will hit home.

"At the moment it doesn't really feel real.

"Training's going well. There's obviously got to be slight changes to my style because the rounds are longer so we're working on me making my way in better.

"With the amateurs you're going hell for leather but I have more time in the pros so I haven't got to rush in as much. It's coming together nicely."

Stablemate McCann won nine national titles in a phenomenal 54-fight amateur career.

He had trials for a place in the Great Britain squad for the 2020 Olympics but instead turned pro with Warren - aged just 18.

Two of his three wins have come by stoppage, blowing away Georgi Andonov inside 30 seconds last time out.

"I had a good chance of going to the Olympics but it's never really interested me," said bantamweight McCann, who also won bronze at the European Games in Russia.

"I had GB trials in December but I turned them down because it's always been my dream to fight under the big lights as a pro.

"I must have been five-years-old when I was wearing gloves around the boxing gym.

Sam Noakes visits hometown football club Maidstone United Picture: Steve Terrell
Sam Noakes visits hometown football club Maidstone United Picture: Steve Terrell

"It's going well. I'm an aggressive southpaw and for my weight I'm very strong.

"I'm a puncher but a boxer at the same time. Hopefully I'll cause plenty of problems."

McCann has already boxed at the O2 but the Albert Hall is another level for the Lenham-based teenager, who takes on Georgi Georgiev (8-15-1) over six rounds

He said: "This is the best venue of the lot, I reckon. It's a great place with so much history - all the greats have fought there.

"I'm privileged and very grateful to be fighting there and I want to thank my promoter a lot.

"This next fight is a step up. He's a tough opponent who's knocked out a couple of good prospects but I will 100% stop him.

"My dream is to be world champion. Please God, I keep my head down, stay humble and keep my feet on the floor and I could be the best thing Kent's ever had. That would be great, wouldn't it?"

It's great for Maidstone to have two boxers on such a big show and the pair have hit it off.

McCann said: "Sam's a very nice guy - we're very good mates. We always go out for food and stuff and he's a really good fighter. He's strong - very strong."

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent


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