To facilitate the inclusion of the women’s featherweight and welterweight divisions, the men’s light fly and lightweight classes are to be scrapped from the Tokyo Games – should boxing feature.
However, the non-Olympic divisions remain in national and international tournaments and Bray’s Buckley intends to rule here for the time being.
The Wicklow talent returned to the amateur game last year having racked up a 2-0 record in the pros and claimed his first Irish title since the switch on Friday night.
Buckley cruised past Belfast youngster Jack O’Neill, the Ulster Senior champ, to claim the Irish Under-22 crown and he intends for this to be the first of many amateur titles in 2019 and beyond.
“I felt absolutely brilliant in there,” he told Irish-Boxing.com afterwards.
The St Teresa’s man looked strong, fit, and sturdy and revealed how “I hit 49kg before Christmas and I plan to hold it for the whole year. I weighed in at 48.4kg this morning and I had had three big meals yesterday and drank a litre of water before bed. I’ve a lot of breathing room.”
“When I fought first in the Elites against Stevie McKenna [in December 2015] I was still very small and had a lot of maturing to do, I was only 18 at the time.”
“I’m 22 in March, I’m feeling fitter and stronger than I was up at 55kg [in the pros].”
Many fighters will change weights to chase their Olympic dream but Buckley is thinking long-term.
The fighter, who is now set to represent Ireland at the European Under-22s in Russia in March, outlined how “I’m not getting old anytime soon, there is plenty of time for the Olympics.”
“This year it’s about getting the Under-22s, getting the Elites, getting as many internationals as I can, hopefully get a few medals.”
“It would be nice, obviously, to have the Olympics but I have a bigger goal and my father has a bigger goal.”
“We’re going to work our way up and when it’s time for me to move, when I can’t make 49kg, then it will be time for me to move and I will be at my best.”
Buckley goes beyond the term ‘gym junkie’ and was back training the day after his win – and has also been getting some sparring in with top pro Eric Donovan ahead of next months’ Elites.
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Team Buckley ❤️ What a brilliant session smashed out this morning. ___________________________________ Back to the old school hard grinding nothing fancy just hard work. ___________________________________11 x 3 min rounds of shadow, bags, and pads everyone giving 100% every round. @mark_buckley2 @markbuckley79 @jaidentankbuckley #Rocket #TeamBuckley #StTeresas #DreamTeam #3Scaffolding #CoachInnBray #SupremeAltitudeAndFitness
It’s a way of life for the Buckley clan and Regan described how “I love it.”
“My little brothers, they’re 11 and 14 and for years, whenever I’d be going training, they’d be going too. They have nothing coming up and they’re training twice a day, they’re like animals!”
“It’s just the family we have, we’ve always done it. Even if I packed in boxing, I’d still be training twice a day, because I love it. It keeps me sane.”
“Once you love what you’re doing, everything falls into place.”