|Gary '5 Star' Sykes|
|Real name||Gary Sykes|
|Rated at||Super Featherweight|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
13 February 1984 |
|Wins by KO||5|
|Losses||3 (KO 1)|
Gary Sykes (Born 13 February 1984) is a British super featherweight boxer. Educated at Birkdale High School he is based in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and is the current British super featherweight champion.
Sykes boxing for Cleckheaton ABC enjoyed a 62 fight career as an amateur, a record which included at one stage a 32 fight winning streak as well as a victory over the current European champion at lightweight, John Murray. During his time as an amateur Sykes also won titles in the junior ABA's as well as the full ABA title in 2005 beating Mike Robinson in the 60 kg category in the event held at the Excel Arena in London. Despite establishing himself as one of England's top amateurs, Sykes missed out on a chance to go to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne after Stephen Smith, another star amateur decided to move up and compete in the same weight division as Sykes. Speaking of the uncertainty at the time Sykes trainer Keith Tate said "everything is uncertain...because Smith's moved up to featherweight, and I know he's highly rated by Terry Edwards...I think Gary's earned his selection already but I have a feeling that this is going to come down to the next ABA Championships later this year....It seems like they're moving the goalposts and I'll feel sorry for Gary if he doesn't get the opportunity. He's had a great year." At the 2006 ABA championships, actually held on 2 December 2005 so as to allow preparation for the Commonwealth Games. Smith beat Akaash Bhatia in the final of the 57 kg.
Sykes made his professional boxing debut on 23 February 2006 at the Town Hall in Leeds fighting journeyman Dave Hinds and running out a winner over six rounds. Sykes followed up the victory with on further win in 2006, defeating Dai Davies once again at the Town Hall with a 3rd round knockout. In 2007 Sykes defeated Kristian Laight, Eduards Krauklis, Deniss Sirjatovs, Dwayne Hill and Carl Allen fighting in venues across the north of England including Barnsley, Wigan, Doncaster and Altrincham. In 2008 Sykes continued his winning streak with wins over Peter Allen, Harry Ramogoadi and Jason Nesbitt before starting 2009 on a high with a win over journeyman Johnny Greaves.
On 29 May 2009 Sykes faced his biggest challenge so far against Anthony Crolla in an eliminator for British super featherweight Title, winning over the 10 round distance. Two more victories followed against Ibrar Riyaz and Dean Mills before getting the chance to fight for the title on 5 March 2010. The fight, against Andy Morris a former British featherweight champion, resulted in a close points win over 12 rounds at the Huddersfield Leisure Centre. Morris, who also won a Commonwealth games bronze medal as an amateur, had stepped in at last notice following the withdrawal of original opponent Ricky Burns. On 28 May 2010 Sykes made a successful first defence of his belt beating Kevin O'Hara again over 12 rounds at the Huddersfield Leisure Centre.
On 20 November 2010 Sykes chose to enter the knock out style Prizefighter series promoted by Barry Hearn and televised live by Sky Sports. The competition, which would provide the winner with a prize of £32,000, pitched Sykes against former British and European title challenger Scott Lawton in the quarter finals in a bout which he comfortably won. In the semi-final Sykes, who had wanted to enter the tournament in order to raise his profile, faced Welshman Gary Buckland and suffered a surprise knockout defeat after just 45 seconds of the first round, the first defeat of his career. Luckily for Sykes, because of the format of the competition, his British title was not on the line. Buckland, himself a former European title challenger, went on to win the tournament beating Derry Mathews in the final.
On 5 March 2011 Sykes returned to the ring for the second defence of his British title against former champion Carl Johanneson of Leeds, the mandatory challenger for the title. The fight, at the Huddersfield Sports Centre, resulted in a close points victory for Sykes after suffering a knockdown in the 9th round, eventually running out a 116–112, 115–112 and 115–113 winner. After the fight Sykes paid tribute to former champion Johanneson saying "To beat him means the world to me...when I first sparred with him I never thought I could last 12 rounds let alone beat him." For his third defence Sykes faced Gary Buckland with the two meeting on 24 September 2011. In a close back and forth contest Sykes lost the title to Buckland with the Welshman being awarded the decision over 12 rounds resulting in a second career defeat for Sykes.
- 118th ABA National Championships 18th March 2005 Excel Centre (London). abae.co.uk
- Adam Smith – Sykes is a class act. Sky Sports. Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Yorkshire Evening Post | Threat to Sykes down under[dead link]
- Boxrec Gary Sykes professional record. Boxrec.com. Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Boxrec News | Gary Sykes vs Andy Morris. News.boxrec.com (2010-03-06). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- BBC sport | Gary Sykes wins British super featherweight title. BBC News (2010-03-06). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Gary Sykes v Kevin O'Hara. Secondsout.com (2002-03-14). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Knockout blow for Sykes in Prizefighter. Yorkshire Evening Post (2010-11-23). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Dewsbury reporter | Sykes in peak condition for british title defence. Examiner.co.uk (2011-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Sykes shows his steel. Sky Sports (2011-03-08). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.
- Wales Onlin | Gary Buckland dethrones Gary Sykes to win British title. Walesonline.co.uk (2011-09-25). Retrieved on 2012-11-19.