Boxing: Brave champion Sykes no match for Olympic gold medal-winner Campbell

Luke Campbell (right) celebrates victory over Gary Sykes during the Vacant Commonwealth Lightweight Championship at Sheffield Arena.
Luke Campbell (right) celebrates victory over Gary Sykes during the Vacant Commonwealth Lightweight Championship at Sheffield Arena.
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Olympic Gold Medal winner Luke Campbell became the first boxer from Hull to win a major professional title when he defeated Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes to claim the Commonwealth lightweight title on the undercard.

Campbell bounced back from his shock defeat to Yvan Mendy in December to force a second-round stoppage against Sykes.

Campbell, under the guidance of new trainer Jorge Rubio, kept Sykes at range with his long southpaw jab in the first round.

Campbell then clipped Sykes at the top of the forehead, wobbling the Dewsbury man and quickly followed up to knock down the former two-time British super featherweight champion.

Although Sykes beat the count, Campbell charged in and unleashed a flurry of punches, pinning Sykes onto the ropes.

Sykes was unable to respond and referee Steve Gray stopped the contest after two minutes 58 seconds.

Campbell said: “I am very proud to have the Commonwealth belt on my shoulder and I beat a very good fighter to do it.

He added: “No one does that to Gary Sykes, he is a warrior and a very tough fighter, but I have done it.

“Gary is a great fighter but I stopped him before he got going.”

Also in Sheffield on Saturday night, Kell Brook retained his IBF welterweight title with a clinical second-round stoppage of Kevin Bizier.

The unbeaten Brook (36-0, 25 KO wins) produced a statement performance in his home city, albeit against a clearly inferior opponent, in his first bout in 10 months as he made a successful third defence of his world title.

The Canadian challenger was bloodied after a vicious opening assault from the champion, who knocked his opponent down twice in the next round to bring an early halt to proceedings to the joy of the partisan crowd.

Brook is now expected to turn his focus towards securing a summer showdown against one of the premier fighters of the 147lb division.

While refusing to overlook Bizier, Brook made no secret of his desire to step up a level in the build-up, with fellow world champions Danny Garcia, Jessie Vargas and Keith Thurman mooted as his next opponent as well as the winner of the money-spinning showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley in two weeks’ time.

He was last in action in May 2015 when he stopped Frankie Gavin in six rounds, although an October contest against rugged Argentinian Diego Chaves was cancelled after Brook sustained a rib injury.

His hand was forced by the IBF mandating the clash against Bizier, whose only previous two defeats came in split decision reverses to Jo Jo Dan, a fighter Brook defeated in four rounds some 12 months ago.

Brook was therefore an overwhelming favourite to extend his unbeaten run in the professional ranks and so it proved, even inside the opening minute.

Despite the lengthy lay-off, Brook showed no signs of ring rust as he found his range with the jab almost immediately while a big right hand wobbled Bizier midway through the opening round.

Bizier cut his eye in the onslaught and Brook could not miss with a series of sickening blows.

Another bruising right hand shook Bizier and he was down on the canvas after Brook followed up with a flurry.

While the brave 31-year-old managed to beat the count, he was back on the floor a matter of moments later, leading to the stoppage with 45 seconds left in the round.

Meanwhile, surgeons are not planning to operate on Nick Blackwell after he suffered a bleed on the brain following his British middleweight title defeat by Chris Eubank Jr in London on Saturday.

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