Back to basics for boxer Sykes

Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes has returned to the drawing board in preparation for his next fight, according to trainer Julian McGowan.
The former British superfeatherweight champion is due to make his ring return in March but an opponent is yet to be confirmed.
Sykes, who turns 28 on Tuesday, hasn’t appeared since suffering a points defeat to Welshman Gary Buckland, which saw him lose his British title, last September.
However, McGowan has revealed how Sykes has gone back to basics over the last few months and is now closing in on being fit enough to make a winning return.
“We are hoping to get Gary back in the ring by April so we are preparing him in the best possible manner,” said McGowan.
“By the end of month, he'll be at around 85 per cent but because he's constantly in the gym, it's easy to maintain that figure and then just add to it as the fight approaches.
“We’ve gone right back to basics. I’ve been getting him to really start thinking about things. His focus is beginning to improve and that’s going to be crucial this year.
“Gary Buckland hit him with some really good, clean shots and even though they threw roughly the same amount of punches, Buckland got the win.
“At times, and Gary will be the first to admit it, it’s been quantity over quality and we are working hard to address that.”
Sykes’ losing bout with Buckland went down as one of British boxing’s best for 2011 but McGowan admits his fighter may have to become “boring” in order to reclaim his British title.
He added: “I look at Gary's career in two phases, and this applies for most boxers.
“He’s approaching 28 now but by no means is he past his best.
“Gary is a very exciting fighter. Every year his fights are voted as some of the best but unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean you win.
“He has lots of fantastic attributes but he doesn’t have too much ring craft. I feel that element will come with this kind of training.
“Now that he is sparring against a host of different fighters, he’s out of his comfort zone again and that’s forcing him to think outside the box.”
Sykes’ fellow Central Boxing Club boxer Tony Aitcheson will be reapplying for his licence to compete at the end of February.
Aitcheson, 22, had his licence stripped from him after being jailed in 2009 for causing affray and admitting to grievous bodily harm.
Meanwhile, Press Sport can reveal that an “exciting announcement” will be made on February 18 regarding Sykes' future.

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