Sykes clocking on to Vegas time for world title clash

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GARY Sykes will move his clocks back to Las Vegas time from next week as preparations continue in his bid to shock the world and win the WBO super featherweight title on Saturday May 19.

The 28-year-old from Dewsbury, who faces the daunting task of taking on unbeaten world champion Adrien Broner at The Mandalay Bay Hotel, will move time zones next week to avoid getting jetlag close to fight night.

Trainer Julian McGowan is working 18-hour days, juggling his daytime job with preparations for the fight, to ensure his charge has the best chance of causing an upset. He has already moved Sykes in, as he did for previous British title fights.

McGowan said: “We are leaving no stone unturned, the preparation and planning I put into all of the schedule is mindblowing.

“Promoter Frank Maloney advised us to move to Vegas time as it is something he did with Lennox Lewis.

“Gary will sleep during the day and we’ll then work from midnight at The Central Boxing Club in Batley. Broner’s team will bank on us struggling with jet lag and the time shift but we’ll have lived it for two weeks.”

Sykes has been inundated with requests from local, regional and national media and has also been asked to do a piece for a radio station in New York, so his team have taken the step to work behind closed doors from next week.

McGowan added: “Initially our feet didn’t touch the ground.

“The buzz in the gym last Wednesday when the fight was confirmed for a world title was electric. The support has been great but we now need to zone in.

“It is a huge event for the town but for us it is work.

“We can’t get swept away with the euphoria and carnival atmosphere, so I’ve taken an unpopular decision to retreat from the circus of fans and media because it’s easy for us to get caught up in this and lose focus.”

Josh Warrington, a good friend of Sykes, has agreed to special sparring sessions in the early hours of the morning, so the Dewsbury man gets used to fighting at the time his world title shot will take place.

McGowan added: “I told Gary when he turned pro he would be British champion, potentially world class. If you are good enough and work hard, you get your shot.

“We work hard and people see the big fights and the spotlight but no one really knows the journey we’ve been on to get here.”

n Are you planning anything special for the world title fight? E-mail andrew.hunt@ywng.co.uk with your stories.

n Sykes’ super fans – see Page 7.