Boxing stars were out in force on Wednesday as the Central Club in Batley staged a sparring marathon.
When Julian McGowan and John Tallant opened the club just over 12 months ago, they dreamt of attracting some of the top names in British boxing to spar and train at the venue but Wednesday evening must have surpassed all their expectations as over a dozen top pros laced up the gloves to trade blows.
A selected group of invited guests looked on in awe at the action and it was clear for all to see what a tough sport boxing is.
Dewsbury duo Gary Sykes and Tony Aitcheson were joined by fellow stablemate Josh Warrington, as all three continue preparations for important fights in March, and they were joined by a host of top professionals, who had travelled from across the north of England to be there.
Britain’s no3 ranked cruiserweight China Clarke, Adil Anwar — who is set to challenge for the British light welterweight title — WBC International silver lightweight champion Tommy Coyle and 20-year-old Hull light middleweight Tommy Knight all descended on the Central Club and despite another freezing night they produced some red hot sparring.
Many of the fighters took to social network site Twitter to express their thanks to McGowan and Tallant.
Tom Knight (@TomKnightBOXER) tweeted: “@centralboxing thank you very much sir means loads I really appreciate it. Thank you for the sparring your all a quality humble team!”
Sykes had stepped up to lightweight last October to enter Prizefighter when he defeated Coyle in the first round and although the two are friends out of the ring, they traded some big blows in a highly entertaining spar.
Coyle (@TommyCoyle89) posted a picture of him and Sykes after their spar and tweeted: “Prizefighter was just Business. #TopLad”.
Recently retired Professional footballer Ian Ashbee (@AshbeeIan) added: “Eyes well and truly opened tonight just been Dickies gym watched @TommyCoyle89 sparring @Garysykesboxer.”
Tony Aitcheson (@Boxertony1) added: “Great sparring tonight @centralboxing with the top British fighters. #teamaitcheson #march22”
Sykes will return to super featherweight when he meets Kevin Hooper for the vacant English title in Cleethorpes on March 15 and the Dewsbury man has vowed to be on top form as he bids to capture that belt and get back into the British title mix.
Warrington will defend his English featherweight title against Devon’s Jamie Speight at Leeds Town Hall on March 22 and the big Leeds United fan is hoping to attract a huge following for the fight, which will see Dewsbury’s Aitcheson make his ring return on the undercard.
Coyle will also appear on what is set to be an action packed bill against an opponent to be confirmed.
See next week’s papers for updates on the progress of Sykes, Warrington and Aitcheson as they build towards their March bouts.