Sheffield boxer seeks bigger city fan base

Jon Kays
Jon Kays
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JON Kays faces a twin challenge when he boxes on Amir Khan’s undercard on April 27.

First, he wants to beat Dewsbury’s Gary Sykes over 10 rounds at Ponds Forge.

And with that, he wants to start a new fan base in his adopted city of Sheffield.

Kays, 29, has lived in Owlthorpe for seven years, but trains in his native Manchester, where he also works as a plumber.

That accounts for the fact that he is not a well known face in the Yorkshire city.

But he hopes that by becoming English super featherweight champion in front of a massive Sheffield Arena audience and TV coverage, that will change.

“This will be my first fight in Sheffield and I will be looking to build on the 150 or so tickets that I can sell over here to family and friend” he says.

“Gary will be the favourite but I am fixated on winning this title and then going on to British level.”

Kays was left disappointed in his only other attempt at a title, a 10th round TKO at the hands of Liam Walsh for the Commonwealth title in 2011.

“I put in a sterling performance that night and have struggled to get fights since then, I have been avoided” said the 5ft 8inch orthodox fighter with a Won 16 (KO 4) Lost 2 (KO 1) Drawn 1 record.

“But my manager Steve Wood made the fight and I feel a million dollars and am not far off the 9st 4lb limit.

“Gary (Won 23 Lost 3) has a lot more experience than me and is the champion so I hope he will underestimate me.

“People say he is a boxer with a very high work rate but so am I. They ask whether I can stay with him for 10 rounds, but can he stay with me?

“He beat me twice as amateurs, seven or eight years ago, but he knows the second decision was the wrong one. This time I see myself winning.”