Preview: Mitch to take first step to carry Buckland name alone

Preview: Mitch to take first step to carry Buckland name alone

For the foreseeable future, Cardiff’s undefeated Mitch Buckland (9-0, 2KO) will carry his families fighting name on alone and he takes the first step on Saturday.

In the wake of older brother Gary’s retirement, super-lightweight Mitch will aim to become a two-weight Celtic champion when he rematches Scotland’s once-beaten Ally Black (5-1, 2KO). It will be at the co-headliner of Warrior Promotions’ ‘Enter The Dragon’ show at the Newport Centre, the same venue where Buckland won the Celtic lightweight title two years ago in another rematch against Craig Woodruff.

Buckland and Black put their undefeated records on the line in July at Bournemouth’s O2 Academy with the Welshman keeping his slate clean, forcing a fourth round stoppage in their scheduled six rounder. It was Buckland’s precise punching, rather than his power, that damaged Black’s nose, obliging the referee to intervene and he’ll be encouraged to rely on his skills again.

Despite Black now owning first hand knowledge of what Buckland is all about, the 22-year-old will believe that there’s little the visitor can do to reserve the result. Buckland has form in rematches, evident in his pair of tussles with Woodruff. They first met in a non-title four rounder, which Buckland won every round of.

However, Buckland faced a vastly improved opponent when they rematched 14 months later, only to improve himself to take a competitive but clear Unanimous Decision win. Mitch had spent most of his training camp alongside his aforementioned elder sibling, those who follow the brothers on social media will have seen them often sharing sweat soaked Strength and Conditioning sessions at St Joseph’s Boxing Club in Newport.

When Gary, a former British champion, suffered last month’s unexpected upset at the hands of hometown hero Sean Dodd in Liverpool and soon retired in the aftermath, it will have undoubtedly affected Mitch, though to what degree is yet to be seen. While Gary will be watching ringside, one man’s presence that will be absent from the corner will be Mitch’s long term trainer and mentor, Tony Borg.

The in-demand coach will be 200 miles away in Manchester, cornering Blackwood’s Craig Evans who challenges for the vacant WBO European lightweight title against Tom Stalker. It’s far from an ideal situation but Borg knew of Evans’ fight first and Buckland will be aided by Brian Powell, his manager, and Junior Borg, the aspiring coach and son of Tony.

Should Buckland beat Black again, the next level for the skillful southpaw is the British title.

The Lord Lonsdale super-lightweight belt may soon be in Wales if Swansea’s Chris ‘Rock n Rolla’ Jenkins (16-0-1, 8KO) can see off the tricky Tyrone Nurse (31-2-1, 6KO) in a rematch for the vacant strap on 21 November. Buckland and Jenkins have sparred in the past and it could be a naturally thrilling all-Welsh match up in 2016.

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