Sykes eyes British title eliminator

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

Gary Sykes may have seen his chance of fighting in front of a partisan home crowd put on hold but he can reflect on a very satisfactory season.

Sykes will now take a break over the summer to recharge his batteries before turning his attention to capturing the Lonsdale belt for keeps.

The 29-year-old from Dewsbury Moor has been mandated to fight Liverpool’s Stephen Smith in a British super featherweight title eliminator early next season and promoter Steve Wood has not ruled out trying to bring that fight to Dewsbury.

In a statement released after news that next Saturday’s ‘homecoming’ show at Dewsbury Sports Centre had been postponed, Mr Wood said: “The plan is to rearrange the show for the new season, and we’re working really hard to ensure that when Gary does next box it will be an eliminator for the British title against Liverpool’s Stephen Smith, which will be a cracking fight.

“Hopefully Yorkshire and Dewsbury fans will come out and support Gary when he’s next in the ring because he deserves it.”

Its has been a hectic few months for Sykes and his team, which has seen them step up to the mark to compete in the Prizefighter tournament last October, before ending Kevin Hooper’s unbeaten record to capture the English super featherweight title in Cleethorpes in March.

Sykes successfully defended that belt, beating Ashton’s Jon Kays on the undercard to Amir Khan’s showdown with Julio Diaz in Sheffield just last month.

However, it is recapturing the British title — and coveted Lonsdale belt — that Sykes has set his sights firmly on when he returns after the summer.

Gary Buckland currently holds that belt but has only defended it twice since defeating Sykes in an epic battle 21 months ago.

A third fight between the two would certainly whet the appetite, although Sykes would be happy to take the eliminator route, and a potential clash with Scouser Swifty Smith if it led to another British title shot.

Sykes may be disappointed to see next Saturday’s show postponed but there is plenty for the Dewsbury man to look forward to after a well deserved summer break.