Close knit team is key to Sykes glory

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GARY Sykes and his close knit team will leave no stone unturned as they go in search of Prizefighter glory.

The 28-year-old Dewsbury star will step up to lightweight to take part in what Matchroom Sports have described as ‘the best line-up of boxers in the 26 editions of Prizefighter’ with a host of top names set to do battle at the Liverpool Olympia on October 6.

Preparations are well underway and trainer Julian McGowan has been carefully planning the next eight weeks of training camp.

McGowan said: “When we have trained Gary for title fights, we have usually brought in around five sparring partners but this time we have a dozen lined up as we prepare for every eventuality in Prizefighter.

“Carl Johanneson is regarded as a permanent lightweight and we will again spar him. We also have Terry Flanagan, Adil Anwar and other potential title hopefuls lined up.

“There are seven other boxers in Prizefighter, all who have different styles and all who will come to the ring with two or three game plans and we have to be ready for everything. We want all the sparring partners to pose different problems for Gary to solve.”

One thing which has not gone unnoticed is the weight difference Sykes will give away in Prizefighter.

Sykes normally fights at the 9st 4lb super featherweight division and although lightweights usually have a 9st 9lb limit, that will rise to 9st 11lb for Prizefighter.

McGowan added: “We will be moving up almost a weight and a half. Nathan Brough is a six-foot tall light welterweight who is stepping down. If we face him Gary will be giving away four inches in height and a significant weight difference.

“We have put together a specific strength and conditioning programme geared at retaining Gary’s speed while increasing his strength.”

McGowan, along with conditioners and good friends Mark Hurley and John Tallant, were left in awe at the shape Sykes was in during the build up to the WBO World title shot against Adrien Broner in Las Vegas, which fell through.

He said: “We knew that Broner wasn’t a genuine super featherweight, as was proved when he failed to make the weight for his last fight, and we were preparing Gary to fight somebody who would be a size or a size and a half bigger.

“Gary was in awesome shape in the build up for the Broner shot and he will be in similar shape when we go into Prizefighter.”