Unbeaten super-featherweight champ Gary Sykes completes Prizefighter line-up
Unbeaten British Super-Featherweight champion Gary Sykes is the eighth and final fighter signed up for the first Prizefighter Super-Featherweight tournament on November 20 at York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Article posted on 22.10.2010
Sykes completes what organisers Matchroom Sport have called “the strongest line-up in Prizefighter history”, joining The Mongolian Warrior Choi Tseveenpurev, Coronation Street actor and former England Commonwealth Games captain Steve Bell and 24 year-old European Lightweight title challenger Gary Buckland. Prizefighter Lightweights semi-finalist Gary McArthur, British and European challenger Scott Lawton and former British and WBU title holder Derry Matthews line up in front of the Sky Sports cameras too, as does Kevin O’Hara, who will be seeking revenge over Sykes after losing to the Dewsbury fighter in his first title defence in May.
The 26 year-old title holder will enter the 15th edition of Barry Hearn’s eight-man, one night tournaments as the favourite but he insists he can handle the pressure of his British title and 16 fight unbeaten record, and that the strong line up will spur him on to claim the title.
“I want to fight the best to prove that I am the best,” said Sykes. “The Prizefighter format is a brilliant night with a big financial reward and as the best fighter in Britain I am confident I can enter this and walk away with the trophy, and I will prove it on November 20.
“There's two targets on my back - my belt and my unbeaten record, but I've defended it already so there isn't really a lot to risk, and I'm not thinking about losing, I'm thinking about showing that I'm the number one Super Featherweight in Britain.”
Sykes had a formidable amateur record before turning professional in 2006, winning several ABA titles and maintaining a 32-fight winning streak but rather than reaching back into the past to call upon that experience in Prizefighter, he insists that his professional style will be too much for the other fighters to handle on the night.
“I throw plenty of punches - against Anthony Crolla we both threw over 1000 punches over ten rounds - so I still fight at a phenomenal pace with a high punch output so the three-threes format is perfect for me.”
Such is Sykes’ focus on protecting his unbeaten record and pocketing the £32,000 winner’s cheque that his trainer and manager Chris Aston joked that he “hasn’t asked me who else is fighting!”
“He knows there are good names and the addition of Choi is exciting - I know he wants to fight him,” said Aston. “We were the first people to work with Choi when he arrived in the country and he's a very dangerous fighter. Gary’s beaten O'Hara and faced Bell in the amateurs so it's a tough line-up but that's what Gary needs and wants. He's got mandatory defences and this is a great test for him as there's no weak link in the line-up.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport’s managing director, is delighted with the eight fighters on the bill and is expecting another great night of action in east London.
“This is quite simply a stunning line up and the most competitive we have ever seen in Prizefighter,” said Hearn. “It’s going to be an electric night and the winner will catapult himself right in line for a major title shot.”
Tickets for Prizefighter Super Featherweights are available now at £35 (unreserved), £60 (ringside) and £100 (VIP) – call Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.
previous article: Martirosyan to Begin Sparring with Pacquiao Next Week
next article: Shane Mosley Jr. makes his "Fight Night Club" debut in amateur bout on October 28