4th October 2011
Buckland went onto win a unanimous decision 115-114, 115-113, 116-113 – But with Sykes doing everything to hang onto his Lonsdale belt, the fight turned into a hard close battle, which never let up for 12 pulsating rounds
For Buckland it was a repeat of his Prizefighter victory over Sykes, but a completely different fight over twelve gruelling rounds.
Last week I spoke to Sykes trainer Julian McGowen about his thoughts on the fight in hindsight and was there anything that his fighter could have done differently or indeed himself?
McGowen has known Sykes since he was an amateur and when the Yorkshire fighter made up his mind to turn professional in February 2006, McGowen was the man he asked to go on the journey with him as chief coach.
Sykes at the time was the Lonsdale belt holder but the title was not on the line and so a rematch was arranged for Buckland to get a shot at Sykes for the title.
|Julian McGowen Boxing Trainer
JM: He’s gutted he lost, the belt has gone but he will be back. He’s a tough kid, will go through a rollercoaster of emotions but come out of this wiser and stronger. He’s still 2-3 good years left, knows he’s still growing as a fighter.
JM: In terms of public perception, many thought he was a weak champion who had been exposed at the top level. Now, he’s just lost a razor sharp decision to the number 1 in Britain at the weight, TV and fans love him, he’s a real fighter, so he doesn’t take any building up in terms of marketing. But he has to change things himself.
He also has to look at his career, and perhaps take his destiny into his own hands. I have 4 kids, hold down a senior role in Publishing, and maybe can’t give Gary the time he needs to get to the next level. He doesn’t want to hear it, but it’s true. Maybe it’s time for us both to review this? Regardless, that’s a discussion he and I will have shortly. We are good friends, whatever we both decide that won’t change our relationship. He’s a great lad, like a younger (annoying) Brother!
My gut-feeling is Buckland gets Foster next, then Europe and vacates, and the title becomes vacant. Gary Sykes is already in the mix, and other than Buckland I don’t see anyone else who can beat him. The old guard will fade away, Liam Walsh will go his own route, he won’t fight Buckland anytime soon he’s just not tough enough for the Welsh kid! Who is left? Ben Jones could happen, but Gary now is too seasoned for a kid like that.
BB: Can Gary come back from this better and wiser for the experience?
JM: He has to! – Boxing’s a short career, he needs to get back fighting for belts and quick. Gary needs to listen to his coaches though – during camp and outside of a camp. I won’t say any more than that!
BB: What did you learn from this fight and how can you improve?
JM: I am always looking to improve! – I love travelling to different gyms and talking to other coaches like Joe Gallagher etc. always trying to build on my experience.