GARY SYKES proved his doubters wrong to retain his British super-featherweight title against Carl Johanneson in Huddersfield.
In a stunning performance Dewsbury’s Sykes boxed clever to out point Leeds’ Johanneson over 12 rounds and passed a test of his chin when he was knocked to the canvas.
It was, at times, beauty versus the beast, with Sykes out-classing Johanneson, who relied too much upon one of his big hits catching Sykes.
Sykes took the first half of the fight with his superior skills, but endured a shaky period from the seventh round and was decked in the ninth by an overhand right – a shot Johanesson had been relying upon and the crowd had been dreading.
Sykes though, to his enormous credit, and with the massive backing of the crowd got up and proved he deserved to be champion by boxing Johanneson and clinging on for a memorable win.
According to Sykes the backing of the sell-out crowd helped him get through that rocky period.
"When I went down and threw a few shots I heard them get behind me and it encouraged me to throw more shots and pick up points," said Sykes.
"After first six rounds I thought it was going to be a doddle, but he caught me.
"There was no two ways about it; I was definitely going to get up!"
Tyrone Nurse made it 16 straight wins as a professional with a points triumph over Damien Owen.
The Welshman was definitely a step up in class for Nurse with him coming into the fight with a winning record (11 wins from 13 fights), but he was very much second best throughout.
Not only did Nurse catch him with shots that rocked the Welshman in the first and third rounds, but he boxed and moved fluently to record a 58-57 decision.
Afterwards Nurse admitted that he was pleased to notch another win and hinted that his future is still at lightweight, despite fighting on the night at light-welter.
"I’m happy with the win. I’ll have to watch the DVD back though," said Nurse.
"In spurts I thought I boxed really well. I ate out the night before the fight, so that shows how easy it was for me to make the weight!
"I’m still growing and I’m not in any rush."
Also on the card was super-middleweight Jason McCalmon and he recorded his third straight win by smashing Dean Walker over four rounds, 40-34.
Nicknamed the Raven, McCalmon strolled to the ring with a slightly less harrowing mask than his previous two fights, but the outcome was the same.
McCalmon had Walker down in the third and fourth rounds, but the Sheffield man got up and held out.
There were draws for Alastair Warren and Jason Thompson, as neither did enough to warrant a comfortable decision.
Warren was up against Pavels Lotahs and the Latvian certainly put up a good account of himself throughout their four rounder.
Warren applied the early pressure but it was Lotahs who finished the fight the stronger and landed some large blows on Warren.
Thompson drew with York’s Graham Fearn.