DEWSBURY boxing legend Gary Sykes has retired with immediate effect and has withdrawn from his upcoming fight with Sean Dodd.
The former British super-featherweight champion, 32, was scheduled to face Dodd in Liverpool on October 15.
Sykes (28-5-6KO) was attempting to rebound from being knocked out in the second round of his bout with Olympic gold medallist Luke Campbell in March, but says he is no longer motivated to compete.
In a statement released this week Sykes said: “I would like to announce that with a heavy heart I’m retiring from boxing.
“Boxing has been the only thing I’ve known for 17 years so it’s not a decision I take lightly and understand there will be regrets, but I just feel like I’m chasing my old self.
“Its no disrespect to Sean Dodd, but I think five years ago I would have walked this fight. Now, the hunger and desire is not what it once was, I want people to remember me at my best and not on the slide trying to recapture past form.
“It was a quick decision, I’d been looking good in sparring and everything was there, but one morning I woke up and thought, ‘I don’t want to train today’ which has happened many times, I have acted on it for the first time and THAT was the moment I knew I had to retire.
“I’ve had a great career, winning two British titles and an English title with Julian McGowan who was always more than a coach to me.
“I had a glittering amateur career under Keith Tate also winiing senior ABA, Junior ABA, NABC titles as well as boxing for England across Europe.
“I’ve had a great career with help along the way from great coaches like Mark Hurley, Steve Wood, Sean O’Hagan, John Tallan, Chris Aston, Steve Hoier, George Rigg, Paul Wild and Paul Garthforth.
“I always said I wanted to retire from boxing and not boxing to retire me. The love for the game ain’t what it was and that’s when I knew I could get hurt as boxing is an unforgiving sport.
“Thank you to every single person who spent their hard earned cash over the years to come see me box. It humbles me I’ve had you in my corner.
“I’ve had a great career and been in with some great fighters and defeated some world champions.
“Here’s to the start of a normal life!”