It is not a rare thing for an undercard fight to be fight of the night, but last nights British title eliminator with Gary Buckland and Gavin Rees was something rather special. This was Rees’ last chance of a title shot after being dominant in the British rankings for many years, and Buckland had to put on a great performance after a destructive lose against Stephen Smith.
Rees started fast and unleashed a barrage of body shots to Buckland which quickly redened the body of Buckland who was landing big over arm rights to the head of Rees. By the end of round 1 Buckland had an injured eye and his corner went to work to reduce the potential early stoppage. Bucklands corner did a stirling job on their man, who came out in round 2 with fast combinations, but Rees was counting on wearing his opponent down by constantly going south of Bucklands head. This tactic was working beautifully, but Buckland was defending well and allowing few shots to land. Rounds 3-4 had Rees bleeding from his nose and took the middle rounds and by the mid way point it was all equal on my score card. The pace reduced at this point as the fight was a gruelling affair with both fighters giving it their all. By round 10, it was clear to everyone watching, that we were in for a fantastic last 3 rounds of the best of British boxing, and we were not disappointed. Both men were clinging on to each other as they both showed real hearts that we only see in the ring. The bell for the 12th round sounded and both men came out and hugged each other with absolute respect and the crowd in Cardiff were all on their feet in appreciation at what they were privileged to of witnessed. Both men then just went at each other for the next 3 minutes, only to be stopped by a loose glove wrap. It was a war of nutrition, guts and pride and showed what can happen in a British ring. The bell sounded and the score cards were going to be hard to predict as it was such a great performance by both fighters.The ring announcer quite rightly said before the cards were read, that we already have a fight of the year contender, and we are only in January! I can’t argue with that!
The scorecards were announced as a split decision as John Keene scored 116-113 to Buckland, Ian John Lewis 116-113 to Rees, Terry O Connor 115-114 Buckland leaving a one point split to no shame for either men.
Gary Buckland can now have a shot at the British Title, but Rees could of easily of won the decision and it showed what a great fighter he is, and why he has been at the top of the domestic sport for so long. I just hope he doesn’t retire as he said he would before the fight should he loose to Buckland, as he has proved once again what a commited fighter he is.