Sykes world title fight

Gary Sykes celebrates winning the Lonsdale belt. 'Front page of supplement.
Gary Sykes celebrates winning the Lonsdale belt. 'Front page of supplement.
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By Andrew Hunt

boxer Gary Sykes has landed a dream shot at the WBO World title against champion Adrien Broner in Las Vegas next month.

The 28-year-old super featherweight from Dewsbury will face world number one Broner at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the undercard to Amir Khan’s world title fight against Lamond Peterson on May 19.

A non-title fight between the two had been mooted but Sykes’s manager Steve Wood pulled out all the stops and on Wednesday night it was confirmed that Broner’s world title will be on the line.

Sykes and trainer Julian McGowan are now planning to cause one of the biggest shocks in boxing history.

Sykes said: “I am thrilled at this opportunity, it is a dream come true. I know I’m a big, big underdog and I would love to see the odds against me winning but I think I’ve earned this chance and I deserve to be in there with him.

“I have never gone into the ring thinking I’m going to lose and I never will.

“Broner is a genuine world champion and it’s Las Vegas. I’m going to enjoy it but you have got to be in it to win it.

“I’ve been told if I beat him, I will automatically become a superstar. People have said I’m going to get slaughtered but I’m realising the dream of every young boxer by fighting in Vegas against the best in the world and not many can say they have done that.”

Sykes’s trainer Julian McGowan is the man who aims to put together a game plan to beat Broner, who has won all 23 of his bouts, 19 by knock-out.

McGowan has already studied tapes of Broner and believes there is a chink in the world champion’s armour.

“We are going to take Broner into the trenches, to places where he has never been before,” he said. “He may have a massive entourage and back slappers but when everyone else gets out of the ring, there will be just two men left and everything else is irrelevant.

“Broner is going to have to be on top of his game and that’s exactly what we will be preparing for.

“Gary has shown a champion’s heart in several of his fights. He has been knocked out, he has been knocked down and got up to win and he has also been involved in some real battles but Broner has never experienced any of those things. He has been used to knocking opponents out in the first round.

“People see Broner as this fearsome undefeated world champion. He may have been brought up in the ghettos of Cincinnati but Gary Sykes is a tough kid and if Broner thinks we are going there to survive and get through the early rounds he is badly mistaken.

“Boxers dream of fighting in Vegas and we now have the chance.

“But we are not going to Vegas to get autographs and shake hands with Oscar De La Hoya, we are going there to cause a huge upset – even if that means we will be the most unpopular men in Vegas on the night.

“I am immensely proud of our town and I think we have earned this shot. Me and Gary share a special bond and we have been extremely loyal to each other and we now have our reward.”

Sykes has been in the gym since beating Dean Mills in Hull last month and most of his preparations for Broner will be made at the Central Boxing Club in Batley.

He has also been given permission to use facilities at Spenborough athletics track for early morning sprint work.

If Sykes realises the dream and becomes the first man to defeat Broner it would send shockwaves around the boxing world.

Viva Gaz Vegas: Page 3