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 on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
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 of 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.
Sheffield Middleweight Adam Etches is back in action, Sheffield Heavyweight Dave Allen faces American Jason Gavern and Andy Townend meets Craig Poxton for the English Super-Featherweight title.
Tickets priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 are on sale now from the Sheffield Arena on 0114 2565656 and at www.sheffieldarena.co.uk. VIP tickets priced at £250 are exclusively available from www.matchroomboxing.com.