McGowan: Spirited Sykes beaten by the better boxer

Liam Walsh rocks Gary Sykes with a stinging upper cut. Pictures: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Liam Walsh rocks Gary Sykes with a stinging upper cut. Pictures: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Trainer Julian McGowan gave an honest assessment of Gary Sykes’s performance at the ExCeL Arena last Saturday, admitting his charge was beaten by the better boxer.

McGowan was proud of the heart shown but admitted it was, at times, hard to remove himself emotionally from a bout that Sykes was always struggling to win following the first round knock down.

McGowan said: “I saw a scenario where Walsh was a bit ahead of Gary in terms of setting traps and walking him onto shots.

“We had a game plan of staying really tight and tucking in because what happened in the first round was no surprise. Gary has shown a vulnerability early on in fights.

“We took the cautious approach because it was important Gary didn’t get knocked out or stopped in the first three rounds when he can be vulnerable, as Walsh is a notoriously fast starter.

“Gary has also shown that you have to nail him to that floor to keep him down otherwise he will just keep bouncing back up.

“Gary had a decent fourth round, potentially the first round he won, but he then had a couple of slow rounds and let Walsh get back into a rhythm again.

“In the ninth Gary got badly hurt and was wobbling and I thought about pulling him out.

“Gary protested as he is a courageous fighter and he dug down and had a reasonable 10th when there was more crispness in his shots.

“In the 12th, he bit down and had a typical Sykes round which got the crowd going.

“It was good to have Bob (Shannon), John (Tallant) and Wayne (McGowan) in the corner with me as it helped me take some of the emotion out of a decision (to stop the fight) and sometimes you have to give a fighter the distinction of going the distance.”