Gary Sykes will have to repeat history if he is to win the Lonsdale Belt outright. The former British super-featherweight champion battles former victim Jon Kays for his vacant old title on May 24 in his hometown’s Dewsbury Leisure Centre. And having previously beaten Kays in an April 2013 English title fight, ‘Five Star’ knows his biggest enemy could be complacency.
“I was worried about that because I’ve already beat him and I didn’t want to take it as a given that I’d just beat him again,” explained Gary, who won the belt in 2010 before losing a third defence to Gary Buckland. “But what’s changed that is the British title is on the line. If it weren’t for that I probably would have been complacent. That belt is all I’m thinking about, so I’m not thinking about Kays, just about winning the belt. I’m training like a demon and there’ll be no excuses on my part.”
In a close affair, Ashton under Lyne’s Kays started brightly in their earlier scrap before fading against Sykes. Since then, ‘2 Smokes’ has gone on to win the English strap against Kevin Hooper and has successfully defended against Lee Glover. With Kays also having the added experience of knowing exactly what he faces this time, Gary is sure he will be up against an improved fighter.
“I’ve heard he’s looking good and he’s been sparring Scott Quigg, so he’ll be in the shape of his life. He’ll be the same as me, he’s boxing for that belt and he’ll up his game just like I will. Last time I didn’t train as good as I could have as I didn’t have a break between fights. I think I relied on being fit and I didn’t put in as much training. This time it’s different.”
Incredibly, in a 29-fight career, this will be the first time the Yorkshireman has fought in his hometown. With the show streamed exclusively live and free on VIPBOXING.TV, Gary knows the occasion is set up perfectly for him to send the home fans away happy, but won’t take anything for granted.
“I’ve had so many setbacks in my career, like the Adrien Broner fight falling through. So to win that belt outright in my home town will be the icing on the cake. It’ll put all the setbacks into perspective. If I win I just don’t know how I’ll feel. It will be the perfect night.”
Promoter Steve Wood stated: “This fight is difficult for me because they are both VIP fighters. The last time they boxed it was a great fight and Jon pushed Gary all the way. I can see that happening this time and I think it’s going to be an extremely exciting affair. This show will only be aired only on VIPBOXING.TV so it’s a great chance for the fans to tune into a British title fight show for free.”
Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes and Ashton under Lyne’s Jon Kays contest the British super-featherweight title at the Dewsbury Leisure Centre on May 24. The undercard features Dewsbury’s Tony Aitcheson; Ancoat’s Dale Coyne; Heywood’s Mark Thompson; Holyhead’s Mark Evans; Lancashire’s AJ Faizy, and Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy.
Tickets, priced £35 and £70 (ringside) are available from all boxers, at http://www.vipbe.co.uk or can be purchased on the door or from the Dewsbury Leisure Centre (01924 325020).