Gary Sykes recorded the 25th win of his professional boxing career at Elland Road last Friday, out-pointing London-based Jamaican Mark McKray.
It was not a vintage Sykes display but the bout — on the superb VIP and Mark Bateson Yorkshire’s Finest show — served its purpose as acting as a warm-up for his British title fight in December.
Sykes worked hard throughout but McKray, at times, looked dangerous as he looked for the big knock-out punch.
Although connecting a couple of times, Sykes showed resilience and was never in trouble and at the end of the six-round contest referee Phil Edwards awarded the Dewsbury man a 60-54 win.
Sykes was the busier from the start, producing some neat combinations and a lovely left which caught McKray on the jaw.
McKray began swinging wildly as early as the second but Sykes covered up well and was picking off the Londoner, while keeping his distance.
McKray had slightly more success in the third, landing a couple of decent head shots, but in between Sykes was still the busier of the two.
After receiving some stern words from trainer Julian McGowan, Sykes produced some classy footwork in the fourth, bamboozling McKray as he danced around the ring.
The fifth was McKray’s best round and the only one he may have edged, although between the big swinging punches, one of which connected, Sykes continued to jab and move.
With victory number 25 in the bag, the final session was all about avoiding danger and Sykes was content to glide in, pick off his man and move out.
At the final bell, it was a case of job done for Team Sykes, who know they now face a gruelling 10 week training camp before challenging for the British title.