Following a dominant win over Gary Reeve in his debut, Buckley stepped up in weight to defeat Tallaght’s Carl McDonald, and will now go overseas to face an Area champion in early 2018.
BBBoC Central Area champion Craig Derbyshire [5(1)-24(3)-3] awaits over six rounds in Bury on Friday February 16th and it screams ‘fast tracked’.
However, the Bray youngster doesn’t see it quite that way. Buckley it seems doesn’t see the benefit of taking risk-free fights. It appears the fighter trained by his father wants to be tested as he progresses even at a stage where most fighters are just happy to bank wins and rounds.
“We are not looking to move too fast but we want to keep testing myself as that is the only way I will keep improving. I’m still learning my trade and I’m seeing improvements all the time. Time is on my side but we want to keep things exciting and this next fight will definitely deliver that,” Buckley explained to Irish-Boxing.com.
Derbyshire has the ability to test most young novice pros, but goes into this clash knowing a title defence awaits in March and may be that bit more motivated. So the ambitious Wicklow youngster believes he will at the very least have to answer questions on Kieran Farrell’s ‘Little Big Man’ card and claims his third pro foe will give him a clear indication as to where he stands among flyweight prospects.
“Craig Derbyshire is going to be my biggest test yet. He’s small, stocky, and a big banger. He’s Central Area champion and he beat a 7-0 prospect to win that belt.”
“To look at his record you wouldn’t think much but then you look at the caliber he has faced, most of his opposition are unbeaten fighters. He has faced the likes of Sunny Edwards, Charlie Edwards, Tyrone McCullagh, and he actually took Charlie Edwards the distance in an eight-rounder in October.
“So this will definitely be a great opportunity to gauge myself too. ”
Having had his first two fights on Boxing Ireland shows, Buckley now finds himself across the water.
Explaining how the link-up came about, Buckley said that “I was actually over in Manchester sparring in Kieran’s gym before my fight with Carl McDonald – with Lee Clayton who is headlining the show I’m fighting on for a British Challenge belt which I have no doubt he will breeze through, and one of his bantamweights George Brennan who’s also boxing on the show. Two really talented boxers.”
“Kieran offered us to box on his show. Then recently my dad was in contact with him again and the fight in February was organized.”
The aforementioned win over McDonald was a real statement of intent from ‘The Rocket’ – but Buckley believes there is still plenty to improve on.
The 20 year old reasoned how “looking back on the win over Carl it was exactly like we knew it would be. Carl is a great fighter but I have the hunger and the drive. My team knew I had the power and the ability to move up that much weight and beat him and nobody can deny that now.”
“Watching the fight back, there were areas that I was disappointed with and parts where I could have pushed on and maybe forced a stoppage – but I’m in the gym every day with my Dad now ironing out those wrinkles.”
Buckley had hoped to jump up again following the McDonald win, but ended up not featuring on the next Celtic Clash card. The former Intermediate champ and Elite Senior runner-up admits he was left disheartened, but is hopeful for a big 2018.
He outlined how “after all the ups and downs from getting a title fight on Celtic Clash 4 to not getting a fight at all, with the constant on and off it was, getting hard to keep myself motivated and driven for it.”
“I’m blessed that I have my Dad fighting my corner every step of the way inside the ring and outside too, keeping me motivated and pushing to get me fights.”
“I’m hoping 2018 will be an exciting year, a year to learn my trade further, a lot of time spent in the gym, and hopefully fight for a Celtic and Irish titles and any other belts I can get overseas.”
The popular fighter then took the time to thank those who support him, outlining how “I’d just like to mention my coaching team Mark Buckley, Tony Mullen, Ger Walsh, and Joe Coster who push me every day in St Teresas BC and keep me ready for war.”
“3Scaffolding and Glenn Currums who funded my trip to Kieran’s gym and also fund me for all of my fights, I couldn’t do this without them. The Coach Inn Bray who fund my training gear and also will help fund my fights in 2018, Supreme Altitude and Fitness Centre and Jay Byrne who sponsor all my cardio and strength training which is crucial, and Nutrition 365 who sponsor my supplement needs for fight camp and keep me healthy and one hundred percent on fight night.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)