Sykes focused on winning English title
Gary Sykes will be fully focussed for his English super featherweight title shot against Kevin Hooper in Cleethorpes on March 15.
to fight in front of a big home support as he meets unbeaten Grimsby man Hooper for the vacant crown.
Although some will see the English as a step down, 28-year-old Sykes knows victory will put him back into the mix to challenge for his old British title.
Sykes said: “I’m not underestimating Hooper and I know he’ll raise his game.
“I guarantee that I’ll be fired up and I’ll be doing this for Layla (Sykes’s daughter) and the gym.”
Sykes is already in camp, alongside gym mates Tony Aitcheson, Josh Warrington and James Ancliff, and last Wednesday sparred Hull’s Tommy Coyle as part of a marathon session at the Central Club in Batley.
Some of Britain’s top prospects, including the likes of Coyle, China Clark and Adil Anwar, descended on Batley for an evening of quality sparring, which was enjoyed by selected invited guests.
Sykes added: “I’m in a good position at the moment. Normally when I first spar, I tend to be a bit sloppy, so to get six good rounds with eight weeks to go to my fight was great.
“To have Tony coming through and Josh here we have a good camp.”
Although Sykes can not look beyond the Hooper fight, the Dewsbury Moor man still has two burning ambitions.
One, of course, would be to challenge for the British title once more and victory would see him win the Lonsdale belt outright, while he still hopes to fight in front of a partizan home crowd in Dewsbury.
Sykes added: “There is talk that Buckland may have a voluntary British title defence and then vacate.
“If I had to fight for a vacant British title that’s fine as I won it that way and I’ll win the title back like that.
“A close second to winning the British title again would be to defend the English title in Dewsbury.
“Hooper trained on Christmas Day and was out running on New Year’s Eve so I know he’s dedicated to this fight.”
Sykes has also been lending a helping hand to Ancliffe, who is now training out of the Central Club under the guidance of Julian McGowan and John Tallant.
Ancliff is on an 11-fight losing run but has two chances to bring that to a halt. He meets Lewis Jones at the Doncaster Dome on February 15 and then travels to his native Scotland to take on Sean Watson in Motherwell on March 8.