TRAINER Julian McGowan is confident that Jon Kays cannot beat Gary Sykes for the British title. The Manchester fighter meets Sykes tomorrow night (Sat) at Dewsbury Sports Centre and has vowed to spoil the Dewsbury Moor boxer’s party and prevent him from winning the belt outright.
However, Central Boxing coach McGowan insists it is not possible – especially with Sykes in such good shape.
The two fighters have history, having clashed three times previously at both amateur and professional level, with Sykes winning all three bouts.
Despite his bold prediction McGowan says that Kays will bring his best to the ring and will prove a real challenge.
He said: “I am very confident, I fully expect Jon Kays to be the best he has ever been and Kays on a good night is a formidable fighter and he will put in a good performance.
“But I have always said that boxing is about levels, he can have the best camp, sparring and be in the best shape possible but ultimately he has never beaten Gary.
“He can’t beat Gary Sykes, it is that simple, he is just not at that level.”
The Central Boxing team have embarked on a testing journey to get back in contention for a shot at the Lonsdale Belt.
Since he lost the belt to Gary Buckland in 2011, ‘Five Star’ has since claimed English titles and impressive Prizefighter results and McGowan says this has built him up to be the best he has ever been.
“It is not just an eight-week camp, it is 32 months of waiting and 32 months where we have been wrongly kept in the dark,” added McGowan.
“I have always said for years that Gary Sykes is a domestic version of Carl Froch.
“Over his career he has stepped up and had incredibly hard fights back-to-back.
“Very few fighters do that these days and take easy fight in between, whereas Gary Sykes fought Anthony Crolla, a touted golden boy, in a title eliminator.
“He beat Andy Morris, a superb fighter for the British title and defended against Kevin O’Hara, former champion Carl Johansen, he went to Prizefighter and rematched Gary Buckland in the final defence of his title.
“Then we fought unbeaten Kevin Hooper, Crolla when he was 14 and 0, Tommy Coyle, Jon Kays who had 14 wins and two losses and Femi Fehintola who is 26 and two.
“Those are statistics you just don’t see people continuously stepping up against these days.
“Gary has had back-to-back tough fights. We wanted to fight Stephen Smith but he decided he would rather give up his belt and fight lower down on bigger bills.
“We wanted to fight Liam Walsh who pulled out twice, so you can see Gary doesn’t avoid anybody.
“Jonny Kays is a good fighter but he knows he is going in against someone who is fearless.”
However, McGowan admits that it is now in Gary’s hands and it is up to him to claim the belt he has worked so hard for.
“The reality is this is the biggest fight we have had together since we started as professionals, in eight years this is the biggest one,” he continued.
“Gary absolutely deserves this shot and I think you will see an unbelievable performance tomorrow night.
“I think lifting that belt would mean everything for the team, people think boxing is an individual sport but it is a team effort.
“But ultimately it is Gary who is in the ring and he is taking the risks. He has to do this – not for me, not for his partner, his daughter, parents or best friends, he has got to do this for himself.”