British super-featherweight champion Gary Sykes defends his title tonight against Carl Johanneson in an all Yorkshire derby at The Huddersfield Sports Centre.

Sykes is hoping that he can put his defeat against Gary Buckland in The Prizefighter and defeat former champion and the ever young Johanneson from nearby Leeds.

It’s a sell-out show to be screened live on Sky TV and while Sykes is top of the bill, there’s a ‘coming of age’ fight for Tyrone Nurse against Welsh ace Damien Owen and some important bouts for a string of other budding local fighters.

“Gary is strong and ready to go,” said Chris Aston, manager and co-trainer of Dewsbury fighter Sykes, who needs one more successful defence to keep his Lonsdale belt outright.

“He’s at his peak really at 26 years of age, he is in peak condition and he knows what he needs to do.”

Sykes and the 33-year-old Johanneson know each other well. They were in the same gym a few years ago when Johanneson was the British champion and Sykes was learning his trade.

They sparred together a lot in those days, but now the glove is on the other fist with Sykes in charge of the belt and Johanneson aiming to get it back.

“Johanneson has won three fights in his comeback and he’s the mandatory challenger,” added Aston.

“Fans will be wondering if he’s got the experience to beat the younger man or whether Gary’s speed and fitness will prove too much.

“It’s going to be a cracking fight and a great night of boxing, not only for the sell-out crowd but for all those boxing fans watching on Sky.”

Contrary to earlier publicity, doors open at 5pm tomorrow and Sky start filming at 6pm.

Fans should arrive early for a card also including Huddersfield’s Burt Warren, Jason McCalmon, Jason Thompson and Michael Smith and a high-class support list of Halifax’s Liam Walsh, Londoner George Groves, Irishman Carl Frampton and Middlesbrough’s Paul Truscott.
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