Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes has announced his retirement from professional boxing with immediate effect.
The former two-times British champion was due to meet Birkenhead’s Sean Dodd for the WBC international title in Liverpool on October 15 but that fight will not now take place as Sykes hangs up his gloves.
The 32-year-old became Dewsbury’s first British title winner when he defeated Manchester’s Andy Morris in March 2010 and went on to twice defend the crown.
Sykes recaptured the Lonsdale belt in May 2014 when he defeated Jon Kays on a historic night at Dewsbury Sports Centre.
His impressive record of 28 wins and five defeats from 33 fights includes two victories over reigning world champion Anthony Crolla, while he suffered defeat to former Olympic Gold Medallist Luke Campbell in March, which will now prove his final bout of a glittering career.
Sykes announced his retirement via his Facebook page on Sunday evening.
A statement read: “It is with a heavy heart I’m retiring from boxing, Boxing has been the only thing I’ve known for 17 years so it’s not a decision I take lightly and understand there will be regrets but I just feel like I’m chasing myself of old.
“It’s no disrespect to Sean Dodd but I think myself five years ago would of walked this fight. Now the hunger and desire is not what it once was, I want people to remember me at my best not on the slide trying to recapture past form.
“It was a quick decision, I’d been looking good in sparring, everything was there but 1 morning I woke up and thought. I don’t want to train today, which has happened many times, but I acted on it for the first time, THAT was the moment I knew I had to retire.
“I’ve had a great career. Winning two British titles and a English title with Julian McGowan, who was always more than a coach to me, I had a glittering amateur career under Keith Tate a wining senior ABA, Junior ABA, NABC titles as well as boxing for England across Europe, with help along the way from great coaches.
“Thank you to every single person who spent their hard earned cash over the years to come see me box. It humbles me I’ve had you in my corner, I’ve had a great career, been in with some great fighters and beaten world champions.”
Full story, interview and tributes paid to Sykes in this week’s Dewsbury Reporter, Spenborough Guardian and Batley News.