Sykes ready for showdown

IN just over 24 hours’ time, Dewsbury boxer Gary Sykes will be making his boxing comeback at Liverpool Olympia.

Sykes has stepped up in weight to the lightweight division for his latest bout, as he prepares to take on a still-unnamed opponent who is likely to be travelling from overseas.

Gary has had to prepare for Saturday’s showdown without his partner Natasha, who has been in hospital, and has spent his time visiting her and looking after his daughter Dolly, alongside his training.

However, ‘Five-star’ is no stranger to Saturday’s venue, as he faced world champion Terry Flanagan at Olympia, as well as coming up against Tommy Coyle and Anthony Crolla in the Prizefighter tournament in 2013.

Despite losing to Flanagan in the final, Sykes beat Crolla - who drew his world title fight on Saturday against Colobian Darleys Perez in controversial circumstances – and overcame Coyle, who is now preparing for a clash with Luke Campbell on August 1.

Sykes says he wants to be back amongst the big names in British boxing.

“I’ve fought Flanagan, he’s now a world champion, I’ve fought and beaten Anthony Crolla twice. I want to join them in these big fights,” the former British super-feathweight champion said.

“I believe being at lightweight will add a few more years onto my career. I’m confident, I’m learning new skills and techniques and I’m looking forward to the fight in Liverpool.” In preparation for his fight, Sykes has to watch some of his old sparring partners and previous opponents prepare for world title bouts under the guidance of Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing stable – and he believes a victory on Saturday  can help him mix it with country’s elite.

If Sykes does manage to win tomorrow in Liverpool, he could fight Scott Cardle for the British lightweight title later this year, with Leeds’ First Direct Arena a possible venue for the clash when it hosts the John Warrington vs Joel Brunker clash in front of the Sky cameras. But the Dewsbury man knows he can’t look beyond his next fight, which will be over six three-minute rounds.

The 31-year old hasn’t fought since losing his title to Liam Walsh at the ExCel Arena in London in November and currently holds an impressive record in the professional ranks with 27 wins and four losses in 31 fights, with six victories coming by a way of knockout.

• Tickets can still be bought for tomorrow’s fight and are available by contacting @GarySykesBoxer on Twitter, or via Gary’s Facebook page.

They are also available from Dicky’s Gym and are priced at £30 standard/£50 ringside.

The bus travelling to Liverpool is £13 and will set off from Hanging Heaton Cricket Club (TBA). To book, contact James on 07890 610184.

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