PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Former world lightweight champion Claude Noel of Trinidad & Tobago died on Sunday at the Mount Hope Hospital after a lengthy battle with diabetes. He was 74.
Noel began his professional fight career on November 13, 1973, fighting in the T&T capital of Port of Spain, defeating compatriot Art de Freitas with a second-round knockout.
After a run of four victories, Noel successfully challenged for his first title, the T&T lightweight title. The fight, scheduled for 15 rounds, was stopped in the 10th round with Noel’s opponent, Fitzroy Guisseppi, unable to continue.
The crowning moment for Noel came in 1981 when he defeated Mexican-American pugilist Rodolfo Gonzales for the WBA title in the United States, on points.
The judges scored the fight in Atlantic City in the state of New Jersey, 145-140, 145-141, and 144-141, all in favour of Noel.
He became a household name and had a highway named after him in his native Tobago.
The first defense of his title was on December 5, 1981 against late replacement, Arturo Frias.
The American challenger dominated before knocking out Noel in the eighth round of the contest, which took place in the world-renowned American city of Las Vegas.
Funeral arrangements for Noel are being made by his nephew Renny Noel, and his wife, Ann.