When Scott ‘Psycho’ Sykes stepped into the ring for his first ever public boxing match earlier this year, the grin never left his face – even when he was getting punched in it. “It was just awesome. I don’t like being the centre of attention – I really hate it – but that night was my rock-star moment.”
Scott might have been the second oldest boxer taking part in the event (and, at 41 years old, he was 16 years older than his opponent), and it might have been his first foray into boxing, but he’s no stranger to combat. “I’ve done martial arts on and off since I was 17. This was a departure from something I’m comfortable with. I currently train in Brazilian Jujitsu, but in BJJ you don’t punch, so getting punched in the face is an eye-opener. There were a few times when I would have loved to get a kick, a knee or an elbow in.”
Starting weight: 92kg
Fighting weight: 80kg
How did your commitment to the Vanda boxing tournament change your lifestyle?
It’s been all consuming. It takes over your life. You wake up at 3am thinking about it. In the first two months of training I dropped 14 kg. I took it a bit too seriously to be honest. I was running 10 kilometers twice a week, from work to home and training every lunchtime. I’ve always trained a lot and I did a marathon 18 months ago, but it was the diet that made the weight come off. All I ate was fruit, vegetables and meat – no processed food. I had no alcohol from Christmas Day until the end of my fight when I had a beer in the ring. The next day I got a drive-thru McDonalds and ate it in bed!
You must have had to change your wardrobe as well!
Yeah, my shirts are still a bit baggy and my trousers are falling off. I’ve put a little bit back on but still nothing like what I used to be. I had to have a hernia operation four days after the fight so I went from doing all that training – the fittest I’ve ever been – to doing nothing for four weeks. I was climbing the walls! There were certain movements I couldn’t do when I was training and when I lost all the weight, the hernia became visible. I’d often have to pop it back in!
How did you feel after the fight?
I lost on a points decision in the end, but I couldn’t have been any happier if I’d won. I’d be interested to know how much happier I could have been – I was buzzing, it was amazing.
Will you do it again?
Never say ‘never’. It was absolutely brilliant and I loved having something to focus on. The camaraderie was really good too – there are people I met that I’ll stay in contact with forever. I’m doing a 50km run in November so that’s my next focus.