Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes believes he has the capabilities of mixing it with the best lightweights Britain has to offer.
The former two-times British super featherweight king makes his official debut in the 9st 9lb division at Liverpool’s Olympia this Saturday.
Victory could propel Sykes towards some big domestic fights, with the likes of reigning British champion Scotty Cardle and Manchester’s Anthony Crolla on the 31-year-old’s radar.
Sykes was an interested observer of last Saturday’s WBA World title fight between Crolla and Colombian Darleys Perez, which ended in a controversial draw when many thought the Manchester man had done enough to win.
Sykes said: “I thought Crolla definitely won the fight, even without the two points his opponent had deducted and had he been crowned world champion, I would certainly have been calling him out to fight me.
“I know the importance of Saturday’s fight and whoever the opponent is, I must be beating him if I am going to challenge for titles in a very tough lightweight division.
“There is already talk of a potential British title fight with Scotty Cardle but all that goes to pot if I don’t win on Saturday.”
The lightweight division is regarded as the hottest in Britain at the moment with newly crowned WBO World champion Terry Flanagan ranked the number one.
Hull rivals Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell meet at Craven Park on August 1 and there are some potential huge domestic bouts should Sykes come through on Saturday.
The Dewsbury man added: “I have already beaten Crolla twice and fought Terry Flanagan in Prizefighter when a poll had 74 per cent of Sky viewers seeing me as winning.
“I also sparred Terry as part of my preparations for Liam Walsh and they were always brutal clashes but nip and tuck.”
Sykes sees Saturday’s clash, which is likely to be against an overseas opponent over six three minute rounds, as part of his plans to gatecrash the lightweight division.
However, the build up to his first bout since losing the British and Commonwealth super featherweight bout against Walsh last November have been hampered.
Sykes said: “My partner, Natasha, has spent time in hospital and I have been juggling visits to see her, with looking after our baby daughter, Dolly, while still preparing for the fight.
“It has not been easy but there was no way I was going to postpone the fight.
“I just want to get Saturday out of the way, get a win and then look ahead to some more big nights.”
A coach to Liverpool is travelling from Dewsbury and anyone interested should contact James on 07890 610184.