SYKES TO GET BRITISH TITLE SHOT

SYKES TO GET BRITISH TITLE SHOT

YEARS of frustration are finally over for Gary Sykes after the Dewsbury boxer was told he will fight for a British title this year.

An agreement among promoters has resulted in the scrapping of the 29-year-old’s proposed title eliminator against Stephen Smith.

Liverpudlian Smith will now face reigning champion Gary Buckland, but in a twist ‘Five-Star’ Sykes has become a mandatory challenger.

The originally scheduled meeting of Sykes and Smith had been designed to determine the number one contender.

The British Boxing Board of Control are understood to have sanctioned Smith to battle  Welshman Buckland, however, who defeated Sykes for the Lonsdale crown in 2010, on August 17.

According to trainer Julian McGowan, super-featherweight Sykes has agreed to stand aside having been promised a shot at the winner.

And The Press understands it will come before the end of 2013.

“It’s highly likely that Gary Buckland will defend against Stephen Smith on August 17,” said McGowan.

“Initially Gary was set to face Smith in a final eliminator, before the end of September, but several promotional amalgamations have moved Buckland onto a spot on a big bill next month.

“We are unable to make that date, but Stephen can.

“In the spirit of keeping the belts moving and champions active, we have agreed to step aside on the promise we fight the winner by the end of the year. That, thankfully, has been agreed.

“The move safeguards our mandatory position, while allowing us to pursue other options. There is real potential for international fights on highly lucrative bills before taking on the winner of Buckland v Smith.

“My job is to keep Gary active, while helping him to make the correct moves in his career.

“If we had pushed for our position it would have left Buckland without an opponent and us with back-to-back fights.”

Should Buckland choose to vacate the 9st 4lbs championship to challenge for bigger honours, if successful against Smith, then an approved contender would face Sykes.

Though if Smith can prevent Buckland from himself claiming the belt outright then the man from Dewsbury Moor would face his former England amateur teammate.

Either way, a British title contest – for Sykes – must take place before the end of 2013.

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