Sykes shows true heart

5 03 2011

Sykes: Climbs off canvas to retain title

Gary Sykes managed to pick himself up off the canvas to retain his British super-featherweight title following an exciting clash with Carl Johanneson at the Huddersfield Leisure Centre.

Sykes survived a scare in round nine when Johanneson floored him and came through to win a unanimous points decision. (116-112, 115-112 and 115,113).

The Dewsbury born fighter, making his first appearance since his surprise knock-out loss in Prizefighter last November, ended the round stronger; landing several body shots.

The pattern continued through the next rounds as Sykes continued to out-work his Yorkshire rival, landing a barrage of right hooks to the body in the second and a powerful left hook to the head in the third.

However the tide was about to turn as Sykes seemed to tire in the fourth as Johanneson began landing some forceful hooks to the body and head of the champion.

There wasn’t much to choose between the two in the fifth, with Sykes starting quickly and landing several fast combinations. But as Sykes seemed to tire, Johanneson began landing the more telling punches and just shaded the round.

Much like the previous round, there wasn’t much to separate the fighters until the champion ended the round well, backing his opponent up against the ropes.

Most of the action took place in the centre of the ring in round seven with both fighters standing toe to toe and trading in what was building into an epic encounter. Johanneson managed to hurt the champion as he landed a huge overhand right to the side of his head.

The eighth round saw more back and forth action as Sykes started quickly; landing sharp fast punches. But as the round wore on, Sykes began to look tired as he began to feel the power behind Johannesons’ punches.

Then came the ninth round; the best round of the night. The action was slowing down as both fighters sought to regain their composure and stamina when, out of nowhere, Johanneson landed a ferocious right hand which sent the champion crashing to the canvas.

Sykes managed to beat the count and in remarkable fashion; ended the round the stronger as he backed his rival up against the ropes once more.

Following a few choice words from his corner, Sykes began the 10th round in explosive fashion; landing several fast combinations as he moved in and out of range superbly.

The 11th saw more of the same as Sykes upped the work-rate, landing a number of good body shots and using his quick combinations to good effect.

Heading into the final round, and the tie still very much in the balance, Sykes seized the initiative as he out-boxed Johanneson for the final round to retain his title in what was an epic contest between the Yorkshire rivals.




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