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Buckland Is New British Champion
Gary Buckland British champ (Mark Robinson/Hatton Promotions)
By Andrew Wake at ringside: It’s two British titles in seven days for trainer Tony Borg after Gary Buckland emerged victorious against Gary Sykes on Saturday night.
Just a week earlier Borg had masterminded Lee Selby’s upset knockout of British featherweight champion Stephen Smith.
And Buckland, 25, made sure another historic Lonsdale belt made its way over the border into Wales thanks to a battling 12 performance.
Buckland had previously knocked out Sykes in just 45 in Barry Hearn’s popular Prizefighter tournament last November and stated that he intended to turn the trick again.
Early on he connected with several heavy right hands to the head followed by swift left hooks to the body, but this time Sykes’ resistance held firm.
Sykes, who had the incentive of keeping the British strap if he could secure victory, settled more in the second stanza but often lacked the space to fire off those strings of fast combinations that had seen off the likes of Carl Johanneson, Andy Morris and Anthony Crolla.
Buckland continued to bull forward and although at times he lacked variation in his work, he still was the one landing the eye catching blows. A big uppercut in round three and a left hook to the chin a session later set the scene for what was becoming a hard night for Sykes.
But the champion, from Dewsbury, began a courageous fight back in the fifth as he got snap into his one-twos and caught the crouching Welshman coming forwards.
What followed were several topsy-turvy rounds where Sykes superior output would appear to have the bout swinging in his favour before a heavy bombardment from Buckland would see the pendulum swing back the other way.
The championship rounds were particular gruelling. A double left hook from Sykes in the tenth momentarily stopped Buckland in his tracks but the Welshman fired back with vengeance in the 11th.
The final telling punch of the night, however, came from Sykes as he detonated a peach of an uppercut that rocked Buckland to his boots. By then, though, it was too little, too late.
Judge Howard Foster scored it 115-114, Mark Green had it 115-113 and Dave Parris saw it a point wider at 116-113.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight Buckland said: "It was a different fight, The last one was a Prizefighter fight - a three-round fight - but this was a good 12-round fight. Gary was really, really fit.
"I seemed to out-box him in the first couple of rounds and then he came back. But I kept strong and kept my head screwed on."
"Normally I take over in the last part of the fight but Gary kept with me," Sykes said.
On the undercard Leicester’s popular boxing bin man Rendall Munroe defeated Japanese import Ryuta Miyagi over ten rounds.
Munroe, now 23 – 2 (9 KOs), found a home for his left hand as early as the opening 30 seconds and it seemed like an early night might be on the cards for the 31-year-old southpaw.
But Miyagi, who sounds more like someone who teaches karate to kids, took the blows well and even attempted to mount an comeback down the stretch.
Munroe, however, was simply too sharp for him and continued to hit the mark with his left hand and even opened up a cut close to the Japanese boxer’s right eye in the final session.
Referee Howard Foster saw 98 – 92.
Triple ABA champion Tommy Stubbs made a smooth transition into the pro game by pitching a 40-36 shutout over locally based Kuwaiti Anwar Alfadli.
The 21-year-old from Oldham switched southpaw several times against his tricky Ingle-stabled foe and flicked out crisp jabs and arching hooks.
In many ways Alfadli had a similar hands down style to Stubbs but the difference was that when the punches were flying it was the debutant’s that were finding the target. Michael Alexander officiated.
Sheffield ticket seller Adam Etches had a tougher night than expected but still deservedly earned the fifth straight win of his fledgling career.
Nicknamed “The Bomber”, Etches does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. He threw caution to the wind and stemmed forward looking to blast opponent Yauheni Abdurazakau out in quick fashion.
But Belarussian had never previously been stopped and showed why by absorbing the punishment before giving Etches something to think about with weighty blows of his own.
By the third though Etches was looking to finish the job once more and on several occasions stunned Abdurazakau. The Belarusian was cleaver in his survival tactics though as he spat out his gumshield twice after being tagged. Funnily, the second time it happend Etches was so frustrated he flicked the mouthpiece up with his boot and then scissor kicked it out of the ring.
All in all it was a good learning fight for Etches. Mr Foster ruled it 40-36.
6ft 8ins heavyweight giant Richard Towers took his ledger to 12 – 0 (9 KOs) with a third round stoppage of previously unbeaten Yuti Bihoutseu.
On paper the 5-0 eastern European looked like Towers’ toughest test to date. However, when the two squared up before the bell the size and reach difference was staggering and it was clear to most that another early night was on the card for the Sheffield man.
Bihoutseu tried to burrow forwards in the early going but Towers’ long tentacles kept him at bay.
Towers, another Brendan Ingle-trained boxer on the bill, stepped up his own attacks in round three and after sapping the energy of the Belarussian with body blows, another shot downstairs forced him to take a knee.
When the action resumed, Towers connected with more shots and Michael Alexander decided Bihoutseu had received enough. The time was 2.28.
At 32 Towers desperately needs a step up in class so that he can build towards a title shot at domestic level. An eight rounder against someone like Tom Dallas would fit the bill.
Unbeaten Newport light-heavy Justyn Hugh suffered the first blemish on his record when he was held to a four-threes draw by Sheffield battler Carl ‘Born 2 B’ Wild.
It was a fight where neither man utilised the jab. Hugh ploughed in and threw plenty of big hooks to the Yorkshireman’s head but had no plan B when that failed to make the desired dent.
Wild, as has often been the case in his career, looked like he could have boxed his way through the action, but instead elected to meet fire with fire and honours even at 38 points a piece was probably a fair result. Mr Foster adjudicated.
“Smokin” Jez Wilson quickly forgot about the disappointment of not meeting touted Welshman Tom Doran by blasting out Jay Morris in just one minute and 50 seconds.
Wilson is now 8 – 1 – 1 (5 KOs) but at 32 years of age can’t wait around for marquee fights. Arguably he’s own of the most unlucky men on the circuit as each time he’s had a big fight lined up things have fallen apart through no fault of his own.
Local lightweight prospect Scott Jenkins doubled his winning tally when opponent Steve Gethin retired at the end of the second round. It was scheduled for four-threes.