McGowan promises titles
PROFESSIONAL boxing trainer Julian McGowan has promised to deliver more titles to the area after opening a club aimed at attracting some of the best boxers in the north of England.
The Central Boxing Club, which is based at Dicky’s Gym in Batley, officially opened on Monday when a host of top names were present.
McGowan said: “My aim is to produce something special for the Batley and Dewsbury area and deliver titles, belts and trophies to the Central Boxing Club.
“Gary Sykes’s British title will be the first of many to come to this area. We have put together a close knit team of boxers with phenomenal talent, who will become big names.”
The main aim for McGowan is to guide Dewsbury star Sykes back to British super featherweight glory and win the Lonsdale belt outright.
McGowan added: “We will get Gary’s title back, win the Lonsdale belt outright, and then look to move him up to lightweight and go after Anthony Crolla’s British title. We’ll try and make Gary a two-weight champion.”
Former British champion Carl Johanneson, who Sykes defeated in the second defence of his title last March, was joined at the Central Club’s opening by his trainer Martin Williams, unbeaten featherweight prospect Josh Warrington, and another former champion James Hare.
McGowan added: “We have spent six long years travelling up and down motorways but when Gary won his title it made it all worthwhile.
“Even as champion, we were forced to travel for sparring, which was ridiculous and wrong but we now hope to attract some of the top boxers in the country to spar our lads here.
“There was a lot of speculation that I was about to retire after Gary’s defeat to Gary Buckland in September. Friends asked why I was walking away and the answer was simple – the travelling and time away from my family.
“That is where the idea of creating my own club came about and it will go a long way to shortening my workload.
“I worked out we were spending 25 hours a week travelling and sparring and that was on top of my full-time job. As any trainer will tell you, the job doesn’t end when you leave the gym. I would be helping plan Gary’s meals and looking at various strategies for the fight and it was extremely tiring.”
Sykes was given the honour of cutting the ribbon to open the gym and the 27-year-old from Dewsbury Moor is looking forward to training there.
Sykes said: “We are looking to build a winning mentality here. We are looking forward to making this into the champions factory. Four of us have had a couple of sessions in the gym and I can’t wait to get into it properly among other boxers.”
Sykes is joined at the club by fellow Dewsbury Moor lad Tony Aitcheson, Thornhill’s Mike Smith, who is unbeaten in four professional bouts, and Huddersfield boxer Tyrone McInery.
McGowan added: “We couldn’t have revamped the gym without a lot of help from family and friends, including Dicky’s owner Mark Hurley and my wife Jane, who has done all the signage, with help from printing firm Aceprint in Ossett.
“It was great that so many people from the boxing world, including Martin Williams, Carl Johanneson, James Hare and Sean O’Hagan, gave up their time to come and support us. When me and Gary first started out, we used to look up to Carl, who was then British champion and he was a huge inspiration to us.”
McGowan will also hold boxing fitness classes, to give novices the chance to train alongside the pros. Any money raised will be ploughed back into the club to buy new equipment and, eventually, an elevated boxing ring.