Dewsbury star gracious in defeat to worthy champion

hard graft Gary Sykes applauds opponent Liam Walsh as he celebrates adding the British title to the Commonwealth crown last Saturday. Pictures: PA Wire/Press Association Images

hard graft Gary Sykes applauds opponent Liam Walsh as he celebrates adding the British title to the Commonwealth crown last Saturday. Pictures: PA Wire/Press Association Images

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Gary Sykes was gracious in defeat as he offered new British champion Liam Walsh his congratulations following a gruelling 12-round fight last Saturday.

There were no excuses from the Sykes camp as the Dewsbury man admitted he was beaten by the better man.

Sykes climbed off the canvas following a first round knock down and survived many hurtful body shots from the Norfolk man as his gutsy display earned high praise from pundits and fight fans alike.

Speaking immediately after the fight, Sykes said: “He was definitely the toughest kid I’ve boxed.

“Normally when things are getting hard I can just grind them down but Walsh was cagey and clever as well.

“He was so strong and his punches to the body took everything I had out of me.

“I was surprised I didn’t go down from one of those body shots but proud of myself, to be honest, that I got through the full 12 rounds.

“I wasn’t surprised I came back from the head shot but every single body shot hurt. He was better than me.”

“Walsh is such a nice guy and he said I’m the toughest guy he’s fought and that I was a warrior in there.”

Sykes also admitted he had enjoyed the occasion of fighting on such a great bill and historic night for British boxing.

Fans clambered for autographs and pictures at last Friday’s weigh-in in Leicester Squre and as Sykes walked from his hotel to the ExCeL Arena on fight night.

Sykes may have left the ring beaten but he was far from disgraced and he was given a magnificent ovation as he made his way from the ring back towards his dressing room following the fight.

The Dewsbury man added: “It’s been a great occasion and I really enjoyed it. It’s good being made a fuss of. Walking to the venue people were stopping for autographs and pictures and I want more of these big fights.”