Trainer allays fears over Sykes' British title fight

STEPHEN SMITH would be stripped of his super-featherweight British title if he opted against a December clash with Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes.

That is according to Sykes’ trainer, Julian McGowan, who has moved to quash rumours suggesting the fight is about to be called off.

McGowan has held talks with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) this week after Smith announced he would be terminating his contract with Frank Warren’s W Promotions.

Warren’s company is set to stage the December 7 bout at Liverpool’s Echo Arena and as far as McGowan is concerned that still stands.

He told The Press: “At the moment it is all rumours. The BBBofC’s position is very clear, I have spoken to them and they have underlined this.

“If Stephen doesn’t fight Gary next then he will be stripped of his title.

“Stephen himself has not indicated that he will not fight Gary, nor has his manager Frank Warren.

“Regardless of the situation with Smith and Warren promotionally, Frank still manages him.

“Only the BBBofC can dissolve that agreement, so until we receive official notice to the contrary we carry on.

“We are in full training and I expect the fight to happen.

“Should it not, for whatever reason, Gary will fight another contender mandated by the board for the vacant British title.

“We don’t really care who we box, we just want the fight and the belt outright. And it will happen in 2013."

Smith’s desire to part company with Warren is likely result in a lengthy legal battle, with the latter claiming he has filed a complaint to the BBBofC after making contact with Smith’s solicitor.

“The time has come to pursue my career away from W Promotions," said Smith, who directed a letter of intent towards Warren after overcoming Gary Buckland to be crowned champion in August.

“As such I am announcing the termination of my contract. I would like to thank everyone a W Promotions for the support of and guidance they’ve given me."

In a statement, Warren responded: “The letter does not disclose grounds to validly terminate the agreement and so Stephen Smith remains under contract to Frank Warren.

“Any party seeking his services must contact Mr Warren in the first instance to comply with the rules of the BBBofC.

“Mr Warren will defend his rights as both the manager and promoter of Stephen Smith and a complaint has already been lodged at the British Boxing Board of Control and a letter sent to his solicitors."

Despite the disagreement, the contest between Sykes and Smith looks set to go ahead.

The Liverpudlian is due to appear alongside brothers Paul and Liam on an historic evening in his hometown, where all three are to place their respective British titles on the line.

“The rumours can often be true, but at the moment there’s a big night planned for the Smith brothers and it will be historical for British boxing,” added McGowan.

“The three brothers defending their belts on the same night would be very special and I don’t believe Stephen would pass up such an opportunity.

“Unfortunately for them, though, only a maximum of two will go home with their belts. The other is coming to Dewsbury!”

By Ryan Sparks

Share this post