Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes will not face Olympic champion Luke Campbell in Hull on March 7 as he ponders the next step in his glittering career.
Promoters Matchroom Sport had announced that Sykes would fight Campbell, who is unbeaten in nine professional fights, but The Reporter can reveal it will not take place.
Sykes is searching for a new trainer and team following last week’s announcement that long-time mentor Julian McGowan has retired from professional boxing.
Sykes has fought all but one of his 31 professional bouts under McGowan but has been holding meetings with potential new trainers this week, although no final decision has been made who the 30-year-old will team up with.
Sykes said: “I can not thank Julian enough for what he has done for me over the years.
“He took me to the British title and, when I lost it, he took me all the way back to the top and I owe those titles to him and John Tallant.
“Julian has made all the decisions throughout my career but I now have to stand on my own two feet.
“I have to find a new team to train me and then adapt to their ways of doing things and to fight Luke Campbell just six weeks after hooking up with someone new would be just too soon.
“I would 100 per-cent take the Campbell fight further down the line but I want to build my career back up at lightweight.
“I had been picked to fight Campbell as I am coming on the back of a loss. They see me as a stepping stone to his career and a name on his record and I don’t want that.”
Sykes suffered defeat to Cromer’s Liam Walsh in the British and Commonwealth title clash at London’s ExCel Arena on November 29 but the Dewsbury man believes he still has plenty to offer by moving up to lightweight.
Sykes added: “I have been knocked down early in my last two fights and I think that had something to do with me making the (super featherweight) weight.
“I also have a baby daughter due on February 14 and that would be right in the middle of a training camp to fight Campbell and I wouldn’t want that to affect me becoming a dad to her.”
Sykes has received overwhelming support as he bids to be recognised as an outright winner of the Lonsdale belt following four British title wins.
Sykes received numerous Twitter and Facebook messages following last week’s story that the British Boxing Board of Control believe he never fought a mandatory bout when he was British champion, despite a clash with number one contender Carl Johanneson in March 2011.
There are exciting times ahead for Sykes, in and out of the ring, and he has received a timely boost with sponsorship from Batley firm Henley Stone Ltd.