REES OOZING CONFIDENCE FOR BUCKLAND BOUT

Gavin ‘The Rock’ Rees (37-3-1, 18KO) is oozing confidence as he wraps up training ahead of a must win fight against his fellow Welshman Gary Buckland (27-3, 9KO). The pair, who have shared many rounds sparring together, will face off in a lightweight contest as the chief support fight at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on February 1st on Matchroom Sport’s ‘Reloaded’ show. Both boxers endured losses in 2013 and another loss is unthinkable for both but Rees is convinced that it will be his hand raised at the end of the night. He said, “I think I can win the fight whichever way I want to. I’m a better boxer, bigger puncher and a stronger opponent. He’s been fighting at super-featherweight lately, so I think I can better him in every department. I fully expect a stoppage and I think I’m going to look good doing it. “I’ve got a lovely jab, if I keep him on the outside with the jab, I can hit him with big shots. I’m a bit faster than him, I’m good on the outside and that’s the plan really, stay outside and box. “Tickets have gone well, everyone’s looking forward to the fight because they think it’s going to be a really hard bust up but I don’t see it going like that. I’m the better boxer with more skill, a wider variety of shots and I think it will tell on the night.” Rees has struggled in secrecy to make the lightweight limit (135lbs) for his last few fights due to what he thinks was an incorrect dietary plan but he believes he’s solved the issue ahead of his meeting with Buckland, who also had issues weight making the super-featherweight limit (130lbs) in his last fight, a defence of his British title which he lost via fifth round knockout to Stephen Smith. Rees said, “There’s not a lot left to do now, the fitness is there now, I’ve just got to keep sharp and make sure the weight is good. I want to feel strong at this weigh-in, in the last couple I did too many weights and I was really struggling with the weight, to be honest. Hopefully, I’ll have a feeling fresh weigh in this time. “You can tell by looking at me, I’m a lot slimmer than before. In the last two years, I’ve been concentrating on the weights, been too much muscle bound and I think it worked against me. A week before the last fight, I felt great in sparring, I did ten rounds fine but come fight night, I had two or three good rounds in me. Hopefully this time the world, and not just the boys in the gym, will see a different Gavin Rees to what they’re used to seeing.” The last fight Rees speaks of was a Majority Decision loss to Anthony Crolla. A win would have given Rees the WBO Inter-continental title and put the Newbridge native in pole position to challenge world champion Ricky Burns. However, an old elbow injury which has been operated on, flared up and stopped the Welshman from performing to his best abilities. To manage the injury, which also troubled Rees in the build up to his WBC world title challenge against Adrien Broner, Rees has had to spar less ahead of the Buckland fight. He explained the decision, “It’s simple really, I’m an old man now. I was picking up injuries, I think everyone knows about that, so I’d rather spar less and fight more. Last time when I was due to fight Tommy Coyle, I hurt myself in sparring and at my age, 34, I can’t afford to be picking up these injuries all the time. So, I’m sparring less and fighting more and feeling good. “He (Crolla) is a good operator at British level, maybe European, level and you can’t afford to go fighting those boys with little knocks. I thought I was good enough to beat him like that but in the fight I couldn’t let the punches go and it told in the end. “If I wasn’t happy enough with my injuries, I wouldn’t be fighting. I’ve still got little tiny niggles but it’s nothing serious to bother me.” Tickets for ‘Reloaded’ Selby v Munroe are on sale now priced at £30, £40, £60 ringside and £120 VIP are available from livenation.co.uk or by calling 02920 22 44 88.

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