Beaten on points by Sykes in a 2013 English title tussle, Ashton-under-Lyne’s Kays believes he is a better fighter for the experience and will prove it in Sykes’ backyard.
“I learnt massively from that first fight with Gary,”explained Jon, who has since become English champ after beating Grimsby’s Kevin Hooper in October last year. “I’d fought a championship before [Kays was stopped by Liam Walsh in the tenth round of their 2011 Commonwealth title fight] but I was a bit wary of setting the pace for the 10 rounds. But I got through it fine in the end.
“Against Gary, I fell apart a bit in the mid-rounds but I came back in the ninth and 10th. Since then I’ve had two championship fights, won the English and defended it, and I’ve breezed through the 10 rounds both times. I know this is 12 rounds but I’m not worried about that. I believe in myself as a championship level fighter.”
At 31, ‘2 Smokes’ has to take this opportunity. Jon knows former British champ Sykes – fighting in his hometown for the first time – will be determined to win back the belt he lost in his third defence to Gary Buckland, and thereby claim the Lonsdale strap outright.
Jon says he will spoil the party. With the winner set to face the aforementioned Walsh, Kays also has the added incentive of another future revenge shot, if he can get past Gary. And with the fight streamed live and free on vipboxing.tv, the North West man is determined to win this ‘War of the Roses’ battle against his Yorkshire rival.
“Without a doubt I’m an improved fighter. I’m a completely different fighter from the last fight. I know I can stand there and fight now. I’ve always had boxing ability in my armoury, but I’ve learnt how to fight inside now as well. Last time I didn’t really want to get inside because I knew that was his territory. I just tried to hold or get away. I’m confident this time of holding my own with him.
“I know I belong at this level and I’ll go and prove it. I’m 100 per cent confident of winning the title; I really believe I’ll do it.”
Promoter Steve Wood stated: “Both these lads have great engines, and there won’t be a dull second in this fight. Their first encounter was one of the best British fights of the year, and the fans will get to see another terrific spectacle.
“It’s disappointing that none of the TV companies have picked up this British title clash, as it’s a fight I know boxing fans want to see. I am pleased though that we’ll be streaming it live and free on vipboxing.tv, and urge fans not to miss it.”
Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes and Ashton-under-Lyne’s Jon Kays contest the British super featherweight title at the Dewsbury Leisure Centre on May 24. The undercard features Dewsbury’s Tony Aitcheson; Ancoat’s Dale Coyne; Heywood’s Mark Thompson; Holyhead’s Mark Evans; Lancashire’s AJ Faizy, and Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy.
Tickets, priced £35 and £70 (ringside) are available from all boxers, at http://www.vipbe.co.uk or can be purchased on the door or from the Dewsbury Leisure Centre (01924 325 020).
This show will be streamed live and free on vipboxing.tv.
Courtesy of the VIP Boxing press office