Former opponents, fellow boxers, boxing journalists, friends and fans have led tributes following Gary Sykes’s decision to retire from the ring.
Dewsbury’s two-time British champion received over 1,800 ‘likes’ on his Facebook page in just 12 hours after announcing his retirement.
Olympic Gold Medallist Luke Campbell, who defeated Sykes to win the Commonwealth lightweight title in March, said it had been a privilege to share the ring with Sykes.
Training partner Josh Warrington also passed on his well wishes, adding: “I always said you were an inspiration, since we shared the dressing rooms on my third pro fight and seeing you bring back the British title.
“It’s a sad day but I’m glad we have shared some training sessions. I learned some invaluable experience in the early days.”
BoxNation pundit Steve Lillis was in Dallas having covered Liam Smith’s world title fight against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez last Saturday, Tweeted Sykes, saying “Good luck in retirement and always be proud of your career. Criminal you never got Lonsdale belt for keeps.”
Merseyside boxer Derry Mathews added: “Enjoy every day of retirement been a class act to watch over the years #classact”
Three weight Irish champion Peter Mcdonagh added: “All the best Gary what you do in future mate x”
Boxing journalist Andrew Harrison (@safesideOTR) said: “@GarySykesBoxer bloody good fighter, too. One hell of an engine - 12 rounds weren’t enough!”
Elliot Foster (@FreelanceFoz) added: “@Gary SykesBoxer has been a sensational servant to the sport of boxing, winning two British titles and English belt. Glittering amateur too.”
Boxing promoter Carl Greaves (@CarlGreavesPro) said: “@GarySykesBoxer all the best in retirement Gary you’ve been a great servant to British Boxing and can be proud of what you achieved.”
Sykes’s sponsors Henley Stone Ltd (@HenleystoneLtd): “Wishing @GarySykesBoxer the very best in his boxing retirement. A great man, a great champion! To retire on your own terms takes courage!”
Mark Waters has followed Gary’s career from the very beginning and Sykes was best man at his wedding.
Waters said: “Very proud of @GarySykesBoxer for making a very brave decision. It’s been a privilege to be part of the journey #proud.”
Batley Bulldogs chaplain Derek Ventress Tweeted: “Wishing a happy retirement to @GarySykesBoxer A true West Yorkshire legend, a great sportsman. I’m proud to call you a friend.”
Paul Shackleton (@shacky9) was among the supporters who travelled to Las Vegas for Sykes’s cancelled fight with Adrien Broner and added: “All the best for the future pal...had some great trips watching u box and amazing memories..met some great lads too @GarySykesBoxer.”
MOCHA (@mochachinnos) said: “All the best for the future @GarySykesBoxer, had some great memories in your journey #dewsburysfinest.”
Martin Gunn (@m_gunn) added: “@GarySykesBoxer good luck in retirement. Followed your fights throughout your career, always fought with your heart on your sleeve.”
Steve (@steve_hibbert) added: “@GarySykesBoxer you can be very proud of your career, thank you for the memories, good luck champ”
Jonathan P (@jppygott) said: “@GarySykesBoxer All the best in your retirement. Hope you stay in boxing and encourage the next generation of fighters in Dewsbury #TopMan”
David Lawlor @Test_Victim_No1 said: “@GarySykesBoxer gutted the fight is off. but in boxing knowing when to quit can be a blessing. I wish you all the best 5 star. legend.”
Dave P Lewis@davidpeterlewi5 said: “ @GarySykesBoxer gutted to hear you retired mate. Thanks for memories. Remember you with the belt at Dewsbury Rams mate. Enjoy retirement.”