Sykes adapts to life after boxing

Sykes adapts to life after boxing

FORMER Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes, who retired from the sport last month, is starting a new career in computer-aided design (CAD) as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.

Sykes admits it has been tough adjusting to life post-boxing, but the 32-year-old is now looking forward to starting work with a former sponsor.

“The amount of spare time I have now has taken some getting used to,” said the former British super-featherweight champion.

“I’ve been so bored and I’ve struggled to find enough stuff to do in a day.

“Having time to relax with the family has been brilliant, but I always need something to focus on, so starting my CAD course came at a good time. But, it does feel strange being a student again.

“I’m hoping to start work for a former sponsor quite soon, which I’m really looking forward to. I can’t thank my sponsors and fans enough for the support they’ve given me since I announced my retirement.”

Sykes was due to fight Sean Dodd for the WBC international lightweight title at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on October 15, but Dodd will now defend his title against Francesco Patera.

Double British title winner Sykes has no regrets, though.

“I really wanted to end my career on a high,” added Sykes.

“I know I lost my last fight against Luke Campbell and I could tell my standards were slipping, so it was time to call it a day.

“I was slowing down and finding training more difficult. I used to be able to hold my own in a sparring session against the likes of Amir Khan, but that’s just not the case any more.

“I was worried that people would remember me as the boxer I am now rather than the one a was a few years ago.

“My motivation was slipping as well because I couldn’t compete at the level I wanted to.”

Sykes admits he needs discipline in his life and training used to provide that, but since his retirement the father-of-two was wary about stepping foot back inside a gym.

“I went to the gym for the first time on Tuesday night, just so I don’t get fat,” he laughed.

“I was unsure whether to go back to the gym so soon because I really didn’t want to get the bug back for boxing and realise I’ve made a big mistake, but I don’t think that will happen. I just knew when the time was right.

“People have been really supportive, even former sportsmen who praised me for retiring when I did. Some said they wish they had done the same which made me feel better about my decision.”

Sykes fully intends to enjoy his retirement and rediscover a social life that was ended by boxing.

He said: “I couldn’t go out for a family meal or drinks because my training schedule would sometimes get in the way.

“But I’ve recently been invited on a stag party next May and I can’t wait. Normally potential fights would prevent me from making plans so far in advance and I nearly said no to begin with because I’m just so used to turning down those kind of invites.”

Sykes himself is engaged to fiance Natasha and they hope to get married sometime in 2017, but despite enjoying his time away from the ring and being with his family the former Birkdale student hasn’t ruled out opening his own gym one day.

“I’ve been approached by several people with various ideas but opening a gym is something a like the sound of,” said Sykes.

“It probably won’t happen for a while but it would be good to give youngsters the opportunity to enjoy a career in boxing the same way I have.”

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