Kevin O’Hara’s career was left on the brink last night after Gary Sykes comfortably outpointed him in their British super-featherweight title fight at the Huddersfield Leisure Centre.
O’Hara made a very positive start as he managed to get through with a series of short right hands but after the second round his threat faded away, losing 119-109, 118-111 118-111.
The Belfast man found champion Sykes a very easy target in the early stages, slapping back the home town favourite’s head with his crisp blows.
In the second round Sykes attempted to drive forward and stamp his authority on the contest but walked into more accurate and stinging blows as O’Hara worked well to the body and threw in some impressive uppercuts.
Not only was O’Hara impressing with his short shots but also his defence as he blocked the blows coming his way.
Sykes managed to have more success in the third, snapping back O’Hara’s head with his right hand. The Belfast man’s work was a little more ragged and he wasn’t as accurate as he was in the opening six minutes.
O’Hara picked up a cut at the side of his right eye in the fourth which proved to be another round to the champion.
Sykes started to use the ring more, giving O’Hara more angles and that seemed to cause the challenger problems.
Now the champion seemed to be controlling the action, giving himself more distance to unload his blows with good effect.
The sixth round also belonged to the sharper Sykes as O’Hara tried in vain to conenct with a punishing assault.
The snap was clearly going out of the 28-year-old’s challenge and one clubbing right hand sent the sweat spraying from the top of his head.
O’Hara tried to get himself going at the start of the eighth, pumping out his fists but Sykes was not allowing him back into the fight.
The Belfast man was now having to soak up a lot of blows, even though there was little in the way of serious power coming from Sykes.
The pattern continued in the ninth and even though O’Hara managed to get through sporadically with a decent body shot, Sykes was dominating with his volume of blows.
Looking dejected in his corner, O’Hara came out for the tenth trying to find a way to win but there was simply no way that Sykes was going to allow him back into the fight.
In the final two rounds, Sykes maintained his dominance, slipping in and out of range and scoring with ease.
The defeat now leaves O’Hara, who finished with a cut over his left eye as well, wondering where his career goes from here.