Gary Sykes and Liam Walsh will go to war for the British and Commonwealth super-featherweight titles on July 26 at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester.
The 30-year-old from Dewsbury, Sykes, is aiming for the big time after a sensational victory in front of his home crowd last Saturday against John Kays that saw him reclaim the British super-featherweight title.
He won the Lonsdale belt outright and in heroic fashion after suffering from a cut eye in the opening round, before being knocked to the canvas in the second.
However the crowd favourite responded brilliantly and showed tremendous bravery and determination to continue plugging away and claim a tenth round stoppage.
Sykes is now promising to follow up that impressive victory by taking Walsh’s Commonwealth title off of him in their lucrative showdown, which will feature on the same card as Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury.
He said: “I’ve just come off a hard fight against Kays to win the title back and I’m going straight back in to defend it against a top kid in Walsh.
“I had to dig really deep against Kays, but when it gets hard I always seem to find it in myself to pull through and win, I don’t think it will be any different against Walsh, it will be a hard fight.”
Sykes, who has won 27 of his 30 contests (six by way of knockout), looked to be heading for defeat but for his impressive stoppage last week.
Two judges had the fight level, while the other had Kays two rounds ahead when Sykes caught him with an overhand right in the tenth which forced his opponent on to the ropes.
Sykes, spotting his opportunity, then pounced and launched a flurry of punches, which saw the referee step in to stop the bout and spark ecstatic celebrations from his team and supporters who had packed into the Dewsbury Sports Centre.
Skyes added: “There’s no way Wash is taking that belt off me. Experience is on my side, I’ve had double the amount of fights he’s had, he’s not tasted what defeat is like and to come back from it, but there will be a first time for him when he meets me.
“I made hard work of Kays and I’m sure Walsh will take some confidence from seeing my performance, but I’ll be bringing my A-game to win in style on the night.”
The 28-year-old, Walsh, has won all of his previous 15 bouts, inflicting ten knockouts in the process. Although the undefeated fighter has not been in the ring since his last win against Joe Murray last September, but he states that he is fit and raring to get back into action after a long spell on the sidelines.
“I’m really excited to get it on against Sykes with his British and my Commonwealth title on the line in what will be a cracking fight on a great show,” Said Walsh.
“I commend his performance on Saturday night against Kays, there’s no question about his heart to come back from a cut eye and knockdown to stop him in the tenth. A thoroughly deserved win, but now he’s up against me.
“I know what he brings to the table and I’m confident that I’ve got the skill and talent to beat him. It’s been my dream to win the British title and I’ll fight with every ounce I’ve got in me to take that title off him and become a double champion.”
The featherweight bout looks set to be a cracker and features on a title stacked show headlined by Fury v Chisora for the European and vacant British heavyweight title and final eliminator for the WBO world title.
Joe Saunders is also challenging Emanuele Blandamura for the vacant European middleweight championship. Liam Smith defends his British light-middleweight title against Navid Mansouri and Jack Catterall will face Nathan Brough for the vacant central area light-welterweight championship; plus an action-packed undercard.
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