GARY SYKES enjoyed becoming the best of British in 2010.
The Dewsbury fighter landed the vacant super-featherweight title when defeating Manchester’s Andy Morris on the Sky TV bill at Huddersfield Sports Centre in March.
It was a first Lonsdale belt for Sykes, who is managed by Linthwaite-based Chris Aston and trained by Julian McGowan.
Sykes, 26, who got the points verdict from all three judges, said at the time: “It’s only just sinking in that I’m the British champion.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and a real team effort. I’m over the moon to win it because Andy was very tough.”
Going the championship distance for the first time, Sykes maintained his effort and, by the 11th round, Morris could see his chance slipping away and went toe-to-toe.
A former British featherweight title holder, Morris stood strong and his performance over the last two of the 12 three-minute rounds gave his strong Mancunian following reason to hope he had pulled the title out of the fire.
But Sykes maintained his excellent composure and his level of punching and was eventually carded the victory 116-113, 115-114, 115-114.
Sykes went on to make a successful first defence of his title in May, when dominating against Kevin O’Hara at Huddersfield Sports Centre.
He won a unanimous points decision against his Belfast opponent on live Sky TV to remain unbeaten in 16 pro fights.
Unfortunately, Sykes lost that unbeaten tag when competing in Barry Hearn’s Prizefighter series in October, beaten by Welshman Gary Buckland, who went on to win the event.