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!"