Walsh aims to begin the new year in style

Liam Walsh (left) and Joe Murray in action during the Commonwealth & Vacant IBF International Super-

Liam Walsh (left) and Joe Murray in action during the Commonwealth & Vacant IBF International Super-featherweight Championship bout at the Copper Box Arena, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 21, 2013. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Cromer boxer Liam Walsh insists Gary Sykes will not stand between him and his ambitions of reaching the very top.

The Commonwealth super-featherweight king gets the opportunity to add the prestigious British title to his collection in his first fight of 2014.

Walsh and Sykes fight for the vacant crown as well as the Cromer man's Commonwealth belt on the big Copper Box Arena show on Saturday, February 15.

The undefeated Walsh won both his fights in 2013, coming through a tough battle against former two-time world champion Scott Harrison in April, when he stepped up to lightweight to win the WBO European belt, then inflicting the first loss on Joe Murray to win the WBO International super-featherweight title.

The 27-year-old is amassing quite a collection of titles, but has always wanted to win the British belt. If he does, he will be only the third Norfolk boxer, after Herbie Hide and Jon Thaxton – with whom he works closely in Norwich, to bring the crown back to the county. Walsh says he is delighted to fight for the British title before moving on towards a potential European title challenge and then the world scene later next year.

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'The British title is the one that all fighters want so I'm happy that the opportunity has finally arrived,' he said. 'Sykes is a good fighter, he's held the title before so he's not getting greedy and winning it again.

'I respect him, he's a tough fighter and I'm preparing for a hard fight, but I've got big ambitions in my career and I've got to beat Sykes to go on and achieve them.'

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Sykes, 29, who holds the English super-featherweight title, beat Femi Fehintola over eight rounds in Leeds a week ago to prepare for Walsh, and will be hoping to reclaim the British title he won in March 2010 against Andy Morris, making defences against Kevin O'Hara and Carl Johanneson, before losing it to Gary Buckland in September 2011.

'Since I lost the British it's been my mission to get it back,' he said. 'I said I didn't care who held it or who I had to go through to get it, I just wanted it in my hands again. Walsh is a fantastic fighter, I really respect him, but there's got to be a winner and a loser in this fight and like I said I want my belt back. This is going to be a great fight for the fans and I'll lay everything on the line on the night to become a two-time British champion.'

For tickets, call 07920 114698.

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