Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes retained his British super featherweight title with an hard unanimous points victory over Belfast’s Kevin O’Hara in Huddersfield last night.

Sykes took his time in getting into the rhythm of the fight, and was getting caught by good counter shots from O’ Hara early on before finding his range to dominate the fight, when his fitness and punch rate began to take its toll on the Belfast challenger.

Gary ‘Five Star’ Sykes, who designs greeting cards by day, had all the boxing designs on O’ Hara and his fast hooks to the body and uppercuts were opening up O’ Hara’s defence, as Sykes gained control of the fight.

Sykes used his reach well to keep the Irish man at distance and limit him to sporadic attacks, and cuts to both eyes of O’ Hara almost sealed his fate and the writing was on the wall.

The impressive Yorkshire lad Sykes looks to be growing into his role as a British champion and finished the fight as a clear winner with the judges scoring it 118-111 from 2 and 119-109 from the other.

Speaking afterwards to SkySports, Sykes told them he could have boxed another three rounds. “From the eighth round onwards, I had a bit of a niggle,” said Sykes. “I’d have liked to have looked a lot better, I didn’t really get out of second gear.

“Normally I get into a war and I kept out of that, so it shows I’ve got another dimension to my boxing.

“I could have gone another three easily if it wasn’t for my rib. If we could get the next one in Dewsbury the place would be rammed.”

Sykes will now take the summer off and is likely to give up his day job as a greetings card designer to focus on his boxing career and will now look to win his treasured Lonsdale belt outright.

On the under card 
Blackpool’s British light-middleweight title challenger in waiting Brian Rose, suffered a shocking 6th round knockout defeat to Birmingham’s un-fancied Max Maxwell in what was the shock result of the night.

Rose had been lined up to fight for the Lonsdale belt in September, against the champion Sam Webb – and was expected to beat Maxwell, in what was to be a warm up fight, but Maxwell hadn’t read the script.

Rose had been out of the ring since October, when he defeated Jason Rushton in what turned into a tragic night, when Rushton had to have surgery for bleeding on the brain.

Rose had fought the demons and doubts about fighting again, and it is un-certain how much the events of the last seven month, had took out of Rose mentally – Having said that, Maxwell looked fit and very much up for the fight, and was being driven on by corner man, and former world champion Ritchie Woodhall – to spring the up-set.

The fight seemed to be going to script, with Rose using his jab and orthodox punches to outbox the walk forward un-orthodox pressure style of Maxwell, Rose was covering up well with a neat peak a boo style defence and was soaking up the wild swinging shots of Maxwell and  countering well.

Maxwell had began to look tired at the end of the 5th, but at the start of the 6th round capitalised with a devastating right hook to the jaw, as Rose dropped his left hand, the heavy shot had Rose out before he fell face first to the canvas.

The referee didn’t bother to take up the count as he waved the fight off and declared Maxwell the winner. Rose, who fell to 14-1-1 (4), was on the floor for several worrying moments, but the doctors were quickly in the ring and after some oxygen treatment was back on his feet, and although he was fine he looked devastated and shocked by the loss.

Maxwell 12-9-2 (3) with something of an up and down career to date, has always been the nearly man in allot of his fights, but tonight he shown the British Boxing fraternity that he is a serious campaigner amongst the light-middleweights and his team will now push to take Rose’s place has a the challenger for his old foe Sam Webb’s title, Maxwell has already lost to Webb over eight last year in a close fight, and will relish a return.

Has for the previously unbeaten Rose, he is a talented boxer and is more than good enough to come again, a good technical fighter he seems to be lacking the power on the night to really make a dent in Maxwell, and will need to go back to the drawing board and build back his confidence after this heavy knockout defeat.

Also making an appearance 
Huddersfield’s light-welterweight hometown boy Tyrone Nurse 13-0 (1), stopped Johnny Greaves 2-50 (1) in another impressive performance by the Yorkshire prospect.

Known for his durability Greaves was unable to cope with Nurse’s pressure and it was no surprise when the referee saved the usually durable Greaves, from any further punishment in the fifth round of this scheduled six rounder. Although war horse Greaves was disappointed and wanted to carry on, the referee was well within his rights to intervene and the stoppage was well timed.
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