Two-time British super-featherweight champion Gary Sykes has announced his immediate retirement from the sport, meaning a fight with Sean Dodd on October 15 is cancelled.
The 32 year-old, who won the 130 pound belt in separate bouts four years apart, was due to contest a fringe world strap on the Tony Bellew v BJ Flores undercard at Liverpool’s Echo Arena but instead released the following statement:
“I would like to announce that with a heavy heart I’m retiring from boxing,” confirmed Skyes.
“Boxing has been the only thing I’ve known for 17 years so it’s not a decision I take lightly and understand there will be regrets, but I just feel like I’m chasing my old self.
“Its no disrespect to Sean Dodd, but I think five yeara ago I would have walked this fight. Now, the hunger and desire is not what it once was, I want people to remember me at my best and not on the slide trying to recapture past form.
“It was a quick decision, I’d been looking good in sparring and everything was there, but one morning I woke up and thought, ‘I don’t want to train today’ which has happened many times, I have acted on it for the first time and THAT was the moment I knew I had to retire.
“I’ve had a great career, winning two British Titles and an English title with Julian McGowan who was always more than a coach to me.
“I had a glittering amateur career under Keith Tate also winiing senior ABA, Junior ABA, NABC titles as well as boxing for England across Europe.
“I’ve had a great career with help along the way from great coaches like Mark Hurley, Steve Wood, Sean O’Hagan, John Tallan, Chris Aston, Steve Hoier, George Rigg, Paul Wild and Paul Garthforth. And also the best sponsor a sports person could wish for in Shaun Henley of Henley Stone Ltd,
“Plus, Mick and Melanie Keith who have been a massive part of my later career. Sports reporter Andy Hunt as done a fantastic job covering my career, thanks for sharing my journey.
I always said I wanted to retire from boxing and not boxing to retire me. The love for the game ain’t what it was and thats when I knew I could get hurt as boxing is an unforgiving sport.
“I’m happy I’ve still got my health, albeit a few brain cells shorter than when I started, but I leave happy with two great daughters Layla-Rae and Dolly-Anna, along with an amazing wife to be, Natasha Blane
“Thank you to every single person who spent their hard earned cash over the years to come see me box. It humbles me I’ve had you in my corner.
“I’ve had a great career and been in with some great fighters and defeated some world champions.
“Here’s to the start of a normal life!”
The Dewsbury man last fought when taken out in two rounds by Luke Campbell in March, but leaves a lasting impression on British Boxing due to his warrior mentality and likeable personality.