Boxing: Sykes loses in Prizefighter final

DEWSBURY boxer Gary Sykes made it all the way to the final of Prizefighter Lightweights II but lost on a split decision to Manchester’s Terry Finnigan.

Flannigan, 23, has been a regular sparring partner of Sykes at the Central Boxing Club, in Batley, but it was 8/1 outsider who prevailed in the hard-fought final at the Liverpool Olympia to scoop the winners’ trophy and £32,000 purse.

In the spotlight of the live Sky Sports cameras, southpaw Flannigan edged the first round with good combinations only for Sykes to make a bigger impression in the second as the final went down to the final three minutes but the Dewsbury star couldn’t do enough to convince the judges.

Sykes, 28, booked his place in the final showdown with two split decision wins over Manchester’s Anthony Crolla in the semi-final and Tommy Coyle, from Hull, in the quarter-final.

Sykes was a little lucky to see off the previously unbeaten Coyle in a scrappy affair but stepped up his game to see off tournament favourite Crolla in the last four.

Flannigan beat Halifax fighter Liam Patrick Walsh before defeating Liverpool’s Derry Matthews in his semi-final.