Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes (28-4, 6KOs) insists he’s not there to make up numbers and aims to bring nothing but his A game when he meets Hull’s Olympic Gold medalist, Luke Campbell MBE (12-1, 10KOs), for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday.
Sykes, a former British and English champion at super featherweight is moving up to lightweight to face the former Olympian and is keen to prove he is no mere gatekeeper.
“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 are 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 off 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.
On the undercard; Adam Etches is back in action, 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.
Tickets for March 26 are also available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/