Dewsbury boxer Sykes bullish ahead of clash with Campbell

Gary Sykes
Gary Sykes
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Gary Sykes has warned Luke Campbell MBE that he’s not fighting to make up the numbers and will hand him a second pro defeat as they clash for the vacant Commonwealth Lightweight belt at the Sheffield Arena tonight.

The Dewsbury ace steps up to lightweight having held the British and English titles at Super-Featherweight.

A clash with Liam Walsh for his British belt and the vacant Commonwealth strap ended in defeat and showed Sykes that he needed to move up, and he wants to prove he can make an impact at 135lbs and he’s no stepping-stone for Campbell.

“I don’t like the gatekeeper tag,” said Sykes. “I don’t think it reflects me or reflects what I am. I have too much balls to be a gatekeeper.

“When I boxed Liam Walsh I was dead at the weight and in the first round he put me down and I went through 12 hard rounds after being put down in the first. I could have just stayed down but I put myself through hell.

“I am under no illusions that they see me as a gatekeeper, but that isn’t what they going to get out of me. I am not there to make the numbers up and they’ll get the best of me that is possible.

“I thrive on being the underdog though. There is no pressure on me but there is pressure on Luke because he lost his last fight and has been over in Miami. His legs might get a bit tired in that fight with all the pressure on his shoulders.

“I stayed down at Super-Featherweight for too long. Before I was British Super-Featherweight champion I had been in Prizefighter at lightweight. I beat Tommy Coyle, I beat World champion Anthony Crolla, and I thought I was unlucky against World champion Terry Flanagan, and that was all when I was super-featherweight, and I was beating lightweights. Now I’m going to be a fully-fledged lightweight and I’m excited to see what it can bring.”

Sykes’ clash with Campbell is part of a huge night of action in the Steel City as Sheffield favourite Kell Brook defends his IBF World Welterweight title against Canada’s Kevin Bizier.

Brook has warned Bizier that there will no more ‘Mr Nice Guy’ tonight.

Brook knows that a win should set up a summer blockbuster following a frustrating period after wrestling the title away from American Shawn Porter in California in August, 2014.

On paper, Bizier should not provide many problems for ‘The Special One’, having twice lost to Jo Jo Dan, a man who looked well out of his depth before he was put out of his misery by Brook in the fourth round of his first mandatory defence last May.

But Brook, who has been touted to face the likes of Timothy Bradley, Miguel Cotto or Keith Thurman should he come through tonight’s fight, is not looking too far ahead and just wants to get the job done again.

Brook said: “Saturday night is about breaking Mr Bizier’s heart, and breaking his bones, so here we go. I’m looking to excite everyone who comes to watch and give them a good old-fashioned war.”