Dewsbury’s reigning British super-featherweight champion Gary Sykes has more than one point to prove when defends his crown against Leeds’ Carl Johanneson this weekend, writes ANDREW WAKE.
He intends to show that his stoppage loss to Gary Buckland in Prizefighter last November was a mere blip.
And he also wants to prove that he is the country’s champion on merit and not simply someone who is temporarily holding the title until Johanneson reclaims it.
Johanneson of Harehills held the coveted Lonsdale belt between 2006 and 2008 and still refers to it as “my title” despite watching Sykes win it with a stellar showing against Andy Morris last year.
“Carl was the champion for a long time but there’s no doubt about it, the title is definitely mine and I’ll show that on the night,” stated Sykes, 27.
“When I found out I was fighting Carl I got totally switched on and I’m ready now. Carl is known as a bigger puncher than Buckland so for me to get in with someone like that is saying something. It proves I’m not worried about my chin.
“Everyone who sees me now seems to mention Prizefigher and what happened there and not the fact I’m British champion. They say ‘oh you’re Gary Sykes, I saw you get knocked out on TV’ and not ‘oh you’re Gary Sykes, British champion’.
“I need to go out there now and show people what I can really do.”
If successful the stylish puncher is hoping to fight for the WBO world title against holder Ricky Burns.
Burns lost to Johanneson in 2007 but has gone on to capture global honours since.
“I’d be stupid to look beyond this fight but my main goal is Ricky Burns,” said Sykes. “Carl beat Burns and if I win this, I’ll have beaten the man who beat the man.
“I’ll be ready.”