Luke Campbell beats Gary Sykes in two rounds on his return
By Tim Hobbs
Last Updated: 27/03/16 2:43am
Luke Campbell made a winning return to the ring in spectacular fashion.
The Olympic gold medalist was so slick and so quick he needed just two sizzling rounds to finish Gary Sykes off in his first fight since losing his unbeaten professional record.
Campbell said he was a "shadow of himself" when he lost to Yvan Mendy back in May but this time, in Sheffield, he was back to his glittering best, albeit he had less than six minutes in which to exhibit the improvement.
A range-finding first round suggested the Hull lightweight was happy to be back but it didn't take long to show he still has that finishing instinct.
A cracking left hook that landed hard on the top of Sykes' head had the 32-year-old struggling before a straight right put him down.
He made it back up but Campbell was all over him in a flash. It was the left-hook that opened the door again, this time downstairs, followed by a right to the temple.
Within a second at most he did it again but as soon as Sykes tried to turn away, 'Cool Hand' switched to the right, doing the same.
The left-right returned but with even the experienced Sykes unable to find a way out of range and avoid the shots, there were at least 22 unanswered punches in the finishing flourish.
Referee Steve Gray moved swiftly and sensibly in as Sykes' corner was throwing their towel. Campbell looked to be something approaching back to his old self.
The 28-year-old's new trainer Jorge Rubio had called for the instant rematch with Mendy in the build-up, but with the Commonwealth lightweight round his belt, Campbell wants to add the British to his domestic collection first.
"Last time, I wasn't fully right," he told Sky Sports. "Tonight, I performed against a great fighter and it's onwards and upwards for now.
"It's a lot of sacrifice because I'm a family man. I took myself away and this is no game we're playing. My family supported me. I'm proud to have this belt.
"Mendy is on my hit list. I can't wait to get in there with him but why not pick up the British title now? No disrespect to Scott [Cardle] but he's got a belt and I want it."