Forgotten man Sykes on the comeback trail

Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes believes there are some big nights still left in his career as he aims to challenge the best lightweights in Britain.
Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes believes there are some big nights still left in his career as he aims to challenge the best lightweights in Britain.

Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes is in line to fight on two big shows in the coming months as he aims to get back in the title mix at lightweight.

Sykes fought just once in 2016, recording a comprehensive points victory over journeyman Ibrar Riyaz in Liverpool last July.

A mooted British title showdown against Scott Cardle didn’t materialise, although Sykes believes he is still in line for a shot at becoming a two-weight British champion.

Sykes said: “I only fought once last year but perhaps that was for the best, as I’d changed my trainer and was learning different styles having moved with Josh Warrington’s trainer Sean O’Hagen.

“I kept in the gym as I was due to fight the winner of Cardle and Sean Dodd but that fight ended controversially and they face a re-match.

“I am still in line to fight for the British title but I just want the big fights and I will fight anybody.

“I’d take Ricky Burns or Luke Campbell, who lost his last fight and may see me as an easy touch for his comeback.

“The WBO European lightweight title is vacant at the moment after Thomas Stalker and Craig Evans twice drew.

“I’ve also beaten (WBA World Champion) Anthony Crolla twice, so perhaps he would like the chance to set the record straight.”

Sykes, who turns 32 next month, believes there are still some big nights left in his career as he looks to challenge the best in the very competitive lightweight division.

Sykes could be in line to fight on the Kell Brook undercard as early as next month, while he is also in line to fight on Josh Warrington’s next bill in Leeds in April.

Sykes added: “I’m hoping to be on the Kell Brook undercard, with the fight likely to be on either February 20 or 27 but I am definitely fighting on Josh’s bill in April, which is likely to be in a big title fight.

“I have been to Josh’s fights and the atmosphere in Leeds is amazing.

“Some of my mates also go watch Josh, so I’d have a decent support there.”

Sykes has been sparring Rossington super featherweight Maxi Hughes, who is preparing to meet James Fryers in Belfast in three weeks’ time and the Dewsbury man would be raring to return to the ring should he get the call to fight in February.

Welterweight World Champion Brook will face IBF mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier, from Canada, in his next fight, with the showdown likely to take place at the Sheffield Arena.

Sykes added: “Having only fought once last year, I’ve had some people coming up and asking if I have retired.

“It would have been a bit of a struggle, only having the one fight, but the support I have received from my sponsors, Henley Stone, has been brilliant.”