Sykes’ shot at British title will end years of hurt

BOXER Gary Sykes’ British title fight will put an end to almost three years of heartbreak for the Dewsbury fighter, according to trainer Julian McGowan.

Sykes last fought for the British title in 2011 when he was defeated by Gary Buckland after a gruelling 12-round clash.

Since then the Dewsbury-born boxer has clawed his way back in to contention, clinching the English super-featherweight title with a win over Kevin Hooper in the process.

The Central Boxing fighter has also enjoyed Prizefighter success, defeating Anthony Crolla and Tommy Coyle on the way to the lightweight final.

However, he fell short of a famous victory as he was beaten on a split decision by Terry Flanagan.

Now, after several delays due to fighter withdrawals, the Batley-trained boxer is getting his long-awaited shot when he takes on Jon Kays at Dewsbury Sport Centre on May 24.

McGowan says his team finally have something to look forward to and added: “It is really sad that I know it has been 32 months since the British title fight and we have not had a lot to smile about.

“The English titles were just about getting us back up there, it was all about getting mandated and we have had to take some tough fights to do that.

“I don’t think Gary boxed as well as he could the last time against Kays but this time we will be more than ready, and so will Kays.

“It would mean everything to bring that belt back to Dewsbury.

“We realised about two years ago because of the politics of boxing it was never going to be about the money it was going to be about the belt.

“We aren’t going to make a living from this and Gary isn’t going to become a wealthy man from boxing. So once we accepted that, we said let’s get that belt.”

The Central Boxing coach also highlighted the significance of the British title shot and added: “It is something we can keep and cherish and people will say long after we have gone – ‘Gary Sykes British super-featherweight champion’, the first British champion from Dewsbury.

“I think it is some achievement and I hope Tony Aitcheson can follow in his footsteps – and I think he can achieve some success as well.”

“It is amazing because I see great things with Tony and I think he has incredible potential and I think that is what people need to understand.

“It is not just about Gary’s night, it is about the current boxing star in Dewsbury and an emerging boxing star coming through on the same bill.

“There will come the time, it might be three years, it might be five years, but there will come a time when Tony headlines big shows as well.

“Hopefully that will be in Dewsbury as well, and he will be fighting for titles himself.”

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