It was a case of ‘and now on to the next challenge’ for Regan Buckley after his brilliant bronze medal winning display in Minsk on Monday.
‘The Rocket’ Buckley delivered Ireland’s first medal – in any sport – of the European Games following a thriller with Martin Molina.
The Irish light fly beat the Spaniard on a 4-1 split decision to guarantee himself at least bronze.
The final scores following an up-tempo 49kg clash read 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 to Buckley and 29-28 against.
It’s a massive achievement for a fighter who returned to the amateurs after a brief two fight pro career.
However, while he was delighted to have secured a place on an International podium for the first time in his career, the St Teresa BC fighter is already looking forward to the semi final.
Buckley will now face Artur Hovannisyan of Armenia in a fight for silver on Friday and his focus has switched to preparing for that clash.
“I’m over the moon. I’ve two days ’til the next bout. It’s straight into recovery and looking onto the next one. No time to dwell on it,” Buckley said after his win.
Spain is not a country renowned as an amateur boxing powerhouse, but Molina proved there is talent in the country.
The Spaniard played his part in a thrilling fight and Buckley, who knocked out the reigning champion in the opening round, had praise for his opponent post the clash.
“It was a hard-fought fight — the Spanish guy came forward an awful lot and he was really compact, he threw a lot of punches so I had to deal with him from the outside. There were times when I had to mix it up with him as well, but we did what we had to to get the win. It was a very good contest.”
The light fly felt he won the first round, but gave his opponent a chance to get back in contention by being drawn into a fight in the second, but come the third stanza he felt reverted to the right game plan to ensure the win.
“First round, I was controlling the distance very well, I was catching him on the counter. Second round, I may have gotten into it a bit too much with him on the inside. And then the coaches told me in the third round to bring it back out to a boxing match. I was working off the jab in the last round and I was catching him with some nice shots, so I think that’s what got me the fight.”
Speaking after he followed Buckley onto the podium Michael Nevin also set his focus on changing the colour of his medal.
“I’m feeling good,” said Nevin. “I’m happy with the performance. Onto the next one, now. He was a good, strong opponent. I have a bronze medal now so it’s time to change the colour,” said Nevin after he beat busy Turk Guler Serhat.