Paul Sykes, a heavyweight boxer and weightlifter from Wakefield, England, was known for more than just his ten professional fights. He had an unfortunate life filled with alcohol abuse and criminal activity, culminating in 21 of his 26 years spent imprisoned in 18 different prisons.
It was during this time that producer Roger Greenwood followed him with the intention of making a documentary; the result was Paul Sykes: At Large, which presents a fascinating look at the troubled life of this intelligent yet unhinged individual. The documentary paints an unflinching portrait of the events leading up to and following Sykes’ rehabilitation efforts during a three year period from 1978 to 1980. It delves into both his successes, such as when he knocked American David Wilson out cold and his failures, like being handed an ASBO by Wakefield Council due to incidents involving drunkenness in 2000.
Tragically, Paul Sykes passed away in 2007 due to alcohol-related liver disease. He is survived by two sons who are currently serving life sentences for separate murder cases. This unfortunate story makes for an interesting watch that will leave you wondering how it could have been different if only he had been able to stay on the path towards sobriety.
If you’re looking for an inside look on one man’s attempts at redemption through boxing and rehabilitation, whilst taking on the difficulties of addiction and trauma head-on– then Paul Sykes: At Large is the perfect documentary for you. The film offers an intimate portrait of a complex man struggling against immense odds in search of redemption—making it truly worth watching!