Sykes focused on ‘must win’ contest

Gary Sykes.
Gary Sykes.

Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes is fully focused on his crucial super featherweight title contest against Kevin Hooper in Cleethorpes on March 15.

Although victory would see Sykes pick up the English title, the 29-year-old is well aware that it would also put him back in contention to fight for the British title and that remains his main focus.

The entire Central Boxing team know the importance of this fight and although there is three weeks until the clash, Sykes is relishing the chance to get back into the mix.

Trainer Julian McGowan said: “We are not treating this as an English title fight, we see it as a 10-round British eliminator.

“It is a must win fight and Gary is fully focused and switched on.

“After this we will push the British Boxing Control to mandate Gary as the number one contender (for the British) or at the very least put him forward for a final eliminator.”

Sykes has been sparring much bigger fighters including Chad Gaynor and Tommy Coyle and he has shown blistering form.

McGowan added: “We genuinely don’t worry what other fighters are doing, we are only concerned about what we do in our gym.

“When Gary is in the zone and has prepared right, he is the best super featherweight in Britain bar none and he is untouchable domestically.

“A switch has flicked in Gary’s head and he is so focused on this fight.”

Sykes has been doing sprint work at Spenborough Athletics Track, while John Tallant is working on his strength and conditioning.

Gary will again move in with McGowan and his family as has become something of a tradition before big fights.

McGowan said: “The gym is really buzzing and I am getting calls all the time to arrange sparring at the Central. People have heard about us and the boxers we have down here.”

It promises to be a hectic month for the Central’s four professionals.

James Ancliffe kick-starts a manic month for the Batley gym when McGowan and Tallant take him to Motherwell for a show on March 8.

Then its off down to the east coast when Sykes tackles Hooper in front of what is sure to be a partisan and vociferous crowd at the Beachcomber Club in Cleethorpes.

On March 22, Central’s other two professionals — Josh Warrington and Tony Aitcheson — are in action a little closer to home at Leeds Town Hall.

Warrington will defend his English featherweight title against Devon’s James Speight, on a card that will see Aitcheson make his long awaited return.