Sykes to kick-off magnificent night

Gavy Sykes v Kevin Hooper - English super featherweight title in Cleethorpes.'By Javed Iqbal
Gavy Sykes v Kevin Hooper - English super featherweight title in Cleethorpes.'By Javed Iqbal

Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes makes the first defence of his English super featherweight title on a mammoth night of boxing this Saturday.

Sykes takes on Manchester’s Jonny Kays on the undercard to Amir Khan’s huge international fight against Julio Diaz at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield.

The epic 11-fight show, which includes the pro debut of Olympic star Anthony Ogogo, heavyweight Audley Harrison and Khan’s brother Haroon, is being televised live by specialist boxing channel Box Nation and Sykes has been told his will be the first bout up, just after 7pm.

Although Sykes has faced far bigger contests during his 26-fight career, this will be the biggest bill he has boxed on and gives him chance to showcase his talent on the international stage .

Trainer Julian McGowan says preparations have gone well and while it is an exciting bill, he knows the importance of getting the job done and retaining the English title.

McGowan said: “This bill is the biggest in the UK so far this year and there are plenty of people talking about it.

“It could be a bit surreal though, because the reality is, most people who have bought tickets are only interested in the main event.

“We are going there to do a job and a ring is a ring whichever arena you are fighting in.”

Sykes ended Kevin Hooper’s unblemished run to win the English title in Cleethorpes just four weeks ago, so this has been like an extended training camp for the Dewsbury man.

McGowan added: “We trained for around 10 weeks for Hooper and apart from a few days off after the fight, we will have spent almost 15 weeks in the gym.

“I believe Gary has more ability, has a better engine and is physically stronger and when it comes down to it, he knows how to dig deep.

“When Kays was pushed (against Liam Walsh) he was found wanting and we know Gary has the extra gear when it matters.”

Sykes defeated Kays twice as an amateur and the pair were due to meet when he held the British title only for the fight to fall through.

However, there is no thoughts of Sykes taking the Manchester man lightly and he has sought the best possible sparring for the contest, including Doncaster’s Jamie McDonnell, who is preparing for a world title shot in May.

n Sykes has thanked Nic Wood at Classic Composites Limited, a local door company, and www.luxebc.com who sell health supplements, sports nutrition and health foods on-line.

Both have kindly sponsored Gary, which has helped fund his preparations for Saturday.