SIMS EXPECTS WOODRUFF-BUCKLAND WIN

Saturday’s vacant Celtic title bout between Newport’s Craig Woodruff (5-1, 2KO) and Cardiff’s Mitchell Buckland (5-0, 1KO) could be the small hall Fight of the Year, according to promoter Steve ‘Sammy’ Sims. The pair first met in July 2012 with Buckland clearly winning all four rounds in what many expected to be a close contest as both boxers entered the bout with 2-0 records. Sims, who trains Woodruff, insists that it’ll be a different story this time. He said, “First of all, I’d like to say Craig Woodruff has trained harder than he’s ever trained in his whole career. He hasn’t even trained properly for any fight before really, this is the first time. I know it’s going to be a very good fight, it could be the best you’ll see at small hall level and I know Craig Woodruff is going to be the winner.” “We have done the last 40 rounds of sparring with Maxi Hughes (8-1-1), who is a good boy, isn’t he? We’ve been happy, when we fought Mitch Buckland the first time he never done any southpaw sparring, we just took it for granted that he’d be okay. “Craig wasn’t even running, I left it too much to him, he’s always relied on his own talent and his own strength to win fights. He never trained properly, God knows how good he’ll be now he’s trained properly.” Not many prospects would face another up and comer this early in to their careers once, let alone twice but this pair have been rewarded for it with the added incentive of the vacant Celtic title – a step up the ladder from Woodruff’s Welsh title. Woodruff and Buckland are 13th and 11th, respectively, in the domestic rankings compiled by online encyclopaedia BoxRec. A win on Saturday could put the victor within touching distance of mixing with Britain’s buzzing lightweight scene but first, Woodruff must overcome Buckland’s southpaw stance that played a major role in their first meeting. It’s something that Sims is wary of, he said, “We loves our walks, our drives. We talk for hours, I said to him, “Craig, I will put you in with anyone in Britain and I will expect you to win” but I’m on about orthodox fighters. “A big hurdle is getting past a very, very awkward southpaw and if he gets past Mitch Buckland then I will put him with anybody and have confidence in Craig Woodruff to win.” Woodruff has been in fine form since his first defeat as he upset the vastly more experienced former British champion Carl Johanneson, stopped the tough Tony Pace and a crafty Dai Davies – both ending in the sixth round which added Welsh and British Masters titles to his collection. For one reason or another, Buckland has been a little bit more inactive with just two outings in the same period of time as Woodruff’s three. Buckland scored his first stoppage in the pros over journeyman Simas Volosinas and a decision win over the game win-one-lose-one Dean Mills for the lightly regarded British Masters Bronze title. Sims observed, “Going on paper, who’s Mitch Buckland fought? He’s done one eight rounder which I know he completely found it different to a four rounder, the pace was so slow. “Craig Woodruff, his last two fights have been ten rounders, the fight before it was a six rounder and in his first fight he beat a European gold medalist  He proved in his last two fights that as the fight goes on, he gets stronger and that will show again on Saturday.” Sims also claimed to have knowledge that Buckland is being affected by the strain of making championship weight, which for lightweight is 9st 9lbs (135lbs), and he expects that to play a part in the bout. He said, “I know for a fact that Mitch Buckland is sparring in a sweatsuit and getting in a sauna in a sweatsuit. He’s struggling that much to lose the weight. We know that Mitch Buckland is struggling to lose the weight. “I drummed it in to Craig, night after night to take serious advantage of it. We are expecting Mitch Buckland to leave it in the gym because he’s over doing it when Craig is resting and recharging his batteries. That’s the difference.” You can watch the first meeting between Woodruff and Buckland here. Tickets for the Warrior Promotions show, named The Dragon’s Den, on Saturday 21st September are priced at £30 and available from Steve ‘Sammy’ Sims by phoning 07771951200. There will also be tickets for sale on the door of the Newport Centre on the night, the full line-up is below: Welterweight, 6×3, Chief Support Jerome Samuels (3-5, 1KO) v Dai Jones (4-1-1) Heavyweight, 6×3 Dorian Darch (7-1, 1KO) v Janis Ginters (3-5, 3KO) Cruiserweight, 4×3 Craig Kennedy (4-0, 2KO) v Nikita Mateuss (2-1, 1KO) Middleweight, 4×3 Frankie Borg (7-1, 3KO) v Greg O’Neill (3-1) Light-heavyweight, 4×3 Jermaine Asare (1-0) v Elvis Dube (5-18-1, 4KO) Light-welterweight, 4×3 Peter Ashton (1-0) v Thomas Jarvis (Debut) Cruiserweight, 4×3 Danni Griffiths (0-1) v Courtney Owen (2-5)

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