SMITH BEATS BUCKLAND

Another Welsh title holder suffered a knockout loss at the Motorpoint Arena on August 17th with Cardiff’s Gary Buckland’s (27-3, 9KO) reign as British super-featherweight champion was ended by a huge Stephen Smith (17-1, 10KO) uppercut in the fifth round. Prior to the first punches being thrown, it was a real pick ‘em fight with Buckland’s (9st 2lbs 8oz) strength matched with Smith’s (9st 4lbs) skill. Heading in to the bout, Buckland was rated #1 challenger for the European title and Smith was in a slow rehabilitation process since losing to Wales’ Lee Selby in September 2012. It was Buckland’s first ever fight in his hometown and he needed just one more successful defence to win the Lord Lonsdale belt outright, to own forever. Many wondered how the bout would play out with both being notorious front foot boxers but it was Liverpool’s Smith who reverted to back foot boxing and it worked. Smith jabbed and moved, while Buckland pressured with a short jab disguising his lunges. When Buckland caught up with Smith, the Scouser shut him down and held to smother Buckland’s inside boxing. When the finish came, it was sickeningly sensational. Smith had timed Buckland’s lunges in the fourth round but he really sat down on an uppercut shot in the fifth and it sent Buckland to sleep – there was nothing he could do about it.  

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