Light flyweight Buckley looked a promising pro prospect after an impressive debut win and a victory over Tallaght’s Carl McDonald up at super bantamweight but, having not fought since last September, the Bray native has elected to sport the vest again.
‘The Rocket’ got so frustrated with being inactive for seven months and the fact he feels like those around the same weight were ducking him, that he will now target amateur medals rather than pro titles.
There will be some who point out that Buckley was offered the chance to fight during that sabbatical only to knock back a number of fights, but the fighter’s admirable if hindering decision to demand a BUI Celtic title fight made taking those bouts impossible.
Buckley wants tests, challenges, and to be active and he feels the amateurs is more suited to his needs.
“I was looking for top level fights and I’m sick of people ducking me. My dad never wanted me to go pro because the goal was always the Olympics. When I said I wanted go turn over he stuck with me and I can’t thank him enough for that. But we’re sick of people running from fights so it’s time to go back and finish out the original plan,” Buckley told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I’ve been seven months without a fight. People can say I’m only interested in high-profile fights and that’s the reason for the inactivity I did say it from the start that I wouldn’t ask people to pay money to see me in a fight that I’m sure to win.”
“I wanted 50/50 fights but other fighters aren’t interested in that. Now I can fight every week if I want, against top level opponents and not have to pay a penny for it. It’s a no brainer really.”
Buckley’s team and his father in particular held discussions with the IABA to see if the Wicklow little man would be welcomed back into the amateur set-up.
Their inquires were obviously brought about a positive response as Buckley has now confirmed an amateur return.
However, Buckley isn’t expecting a homecoming party and claims he will have to work his way up from the bottom. The now former pro knows he will have to earn his passage into the international reckoning and is willing to do what it take to impress Bernard Dunne and co.
“I haven’t got a clue if I’ll be onto the High Performance team,” he admits. “I assume that I will have to start from the bottom and work my way up proving myself. But I will work harder than ever every day to make sure that I get that Elite title and get onto the Irish team. I’ll be campaigning at 49kg, at the minute I’m back down at 51.8kg already.
“Weight has never been an issue for me as I’m a natural light flyweight, I remember my last elites I weighted in at 48kg on the morning of the finals. I train hard and I live the life and it pays off. I’m happy I don’t need to keep my weight up for the pros anymore too. I do believe that I’ll be very big and strong at the weight.”
While he has stated his desire to fight and be busy that isn’t the sole reason Buckley has left the paid ranks. The light fly has Olympic ambitions and even has his sights set on being a two time Olympian.
“The targets are big, I want everything. I’m hoping my entry is selected for the Haringey Box Cup. I’ll be entering everything from then on. I have an exhibition this week with a light welterweight guy and that’ll be my first one back in the vest. I never want to be as inactive as I was the past year.”
The pro game wasn’t for ‘The Rocket’ this time around and despite his frustrations he believes his time as professional will prove beneficial moving forward.
“I think the time that I’ve spent as a pro will be invaluable as I go forward. I’ve learned so much in the past year and I’ve improved so much. I honestly believe that I have an edge on everybody because of it,” he added before hinting he may one day return, but only after he achieves his amateur goals.
“In regards to the pros, I’m not even thinking about them anymore. I’m back where I should have been. I’ve new targets now and I’ve tunnel vision for then. I can’t have my foot halfway in between the two, I’m back amateur now and that’s all I’m focusing on now.”
“Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 are what I’m looking for now. I’ll still be only 27 after the both of those Olympics which is still young in the pro game,” he continued before thanking all those you supported and continue support him.
“I have to say my manager Tony Davitt was very supportive of my decision. He’s as frustrated as we are. He has a world of experience in the pro game but he has even more in the amateurs and I hope to still be gaining experience from him in the amateurs too.”
“I also want to say thanks to the coaches at St.Teresa’s Boxing Club: Mark Buckley, Tony Mullen, Ger Walsh, Jeff Cahill, and Joe Coster for their work up in the club.”
:And also my sponsors from 3Scaffoldong, The Coach Inn Bray, Supreme Altitude and Fitness, and Nutrition365 for their support.”