DEWSBURY star Gary Sykes has his eyes set on another glory night when he competes in the Prizefighter tournament at the Liverpool Olympia.
The 28-year-old has been in some momentous battles over the last three years and Saturday will see another fantastic occasion as Sykes, and the town, are thrown into the sporting spotlight.
Sykes said: “Winning the British title was certainly the highlight of my career and my ultimate goal would be to win the Lonsdale belt outright but winning Prizefighter would certainly rank as my second best.”
Prizefighter sees eight boxers battle it out in one night for the £32,000 top prize and many are rating this edition as the best.
The line-up includes Mancunian Anthony Crolla, who Sykes defeated in a British title eliminator in May 2009, and Liverpool favourite Derry Mathews — themselves both former British champions.
Tommy Coyle is a dangerous unbeaten fighter from Hull, Terry Flannigan has been a regular sparring partner of Sykes and boasts a 15-fight winning record, while Halifax’s Liam Walsh also poses a threat.
Sykes will step up from his usual super featherweight division to compete at lightweight.
Sykes and trainer Julian McGowan will travel to Liverpool for the weigh-in tomorrow but are unlikely to stay over, opting to return to Dewsbury to complete preparations
Sykes has been drawn against Coyle in the first round, but the Dewsbury man knows he will have to beat the best if he is to win all three fights and lift the trophy.
He added: “I’m not really bothered about the draw because I feel some of the lads who are not regarded as big names can be very dangerous as they have nothing to lose.”
Sykes admits that having his world title shot against Adrien Broner cruelly snatched away affected his motivation but Prizefighter has given him the chance to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Sykes added: “After the Broner fight fell through I was sickened.
“It was the biggest fight I could have dreamed of and I found it hard to get back into the gym.
“I would have struggled to have got motivated for a six-round fight but Prizefighter has given my something to get me teeth into and I can’t wait.”
Crolla spent part of his training camp in LA and Las Vegas, while Mathews also spent time away but Team Sykes’ close-knit camp have gone about their business quietly at the Central Boxing Club in Batley.
John Tallant, who helped whip Sykes into superb condition when preparing for Broner, has now earned his trainers and seconds licence and he will be in the corner on Saturday, alongside McGowan.
Sykes said: “John will be in my corner for the first time and while that will be a bit new, I’m looking to get him off to a winning start and bring some silverware back to the Central.”
Prizefighter completely sold out two months ago and Sykes will be backed by around 140 fans, many of whom will be wearing special T-shirts. For those not fortunate to have a ticket, Prizefighter is live on Sky Sports from 8.30pm.