St Joseph’s secure brace with Buckland and Evans wins

St Joseph’s secure brace with Buckland and Evans wins

St Joseph’s Boxing Club in Newport secured a brace of wins on Frank Warren’s show at the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay.

Cardiff’s Gary ‘Dynamo’ Buckland (31-7, 10KO) was forced to using all of his 11 years of experience to get past Matty Fagan (9-2) by a very narrow 58-57 margin.

Buckland announced his retirement after losing a minor upset to Liverpool’s Sean Dodd in November. However, the 30-year-old concedes to struggling to adapt to normal life and the break from boxing only lasted seven months.

Despite the absence, it was business as usual for Buckland who wasted no time in applying pressure, connecting with short hooks to head and body on the inside.

Fagan was willing to give away centre-ring position and tried to find the gaps in Buckland’s blatant approach. The away opponent used his elbow in an attempt to fend off Buckland’s strength in the second round and was soon warned by referee Reece Carter.

After two sessions in retreat, it was Fagan’s turn to make a dent in the third and he did so whilst switching stances to southpaw. Buckland was also winded by an apparent low-blow that went un-noted by the official and it was clear that victory wouldn’t come easy.

Fagan had slowed Buckand’s attacks by the fourth stanza and the Ellesmere Port native could have justifiably claimed to have evened the scorecards. The final two rounds of the cross-roads lightweight fght were fought at a frantic pace and both owned arguments to believe they edged it.

Fagan cane to Cardiff with just one defeat on his record – a razor thin points disappointment to Andrei Podusov when he was hindered by a severe cut. The Arnie Farnell trained charge usually fights at super-featherweight and was stepping up to a level he’s yet to compete at.

Buckland’s career aim remains to win the British title and defend it once. Combined with his two defences during his 2011-13 reign at super-featherweight, it would mean he owns the historic Lord Lonsdale strap forever.

Stablemate Craig Evans (15-1-2, 3KO) ended a three-fight winless run with a wide but hard-fought 80-72 decision win against the game Jordan Ellison (5-7, 1KO).

County Durham’s Ellison isn’t a stranger to causing the odd upset against novice professionals but it was clear from the start that Blackwood’s Evans should be wise to the threat for the full eight rounds.

It was Evans’ first fight for seven months but the aggressive southpaw showed no sign of ring rust. The 26-year-old closed the space with an earmuff stance and found the target in the second round, rushing Ellison to drop him with a short leading hook.

The follow up attack was basic and Evans was forced to take a flush counter, before establishing momentum back on the front foot. The pair set a pattern of long-range attacks, only to then fall in and wait for referee Martin Williams to reset proceedings.

The routine was rarely in danger of changing and Evans remained a step ahead, landing the first and last punches of the exchanges often enough to bank the rounds. The output of both slowed as the bout progressed and Evans gave ground to Ellison, hoping to walk him on to counters.

The only negative for Evans was a cut on his scalp in the fight’s final moments. It was caused by an accidental clash of heads and will be a blow to his hopes to be more active.

Evans entered the ring having not won for 19 months. The Tony Borg trained talented lost to British champion Scott Cardle and remarkably drew twice with Tom Stalker for the WBO European bauble in 2015.

Evans openly admits that he can make the 130lb super-featherweight limit but a lack of opportunities there have forced him to fight five pounds higher at lightweight, where he gives away a size advantage.