The Bray fighter re-donned the vest after a short stint as a pro and entered the prestigious contest with the sole attention of feeling his way back into his old code.
However, after registering victory in London over the weekend, Buckley could now well be viewed as the light flyweight with the ability to compete at international level for Ireland.
After receiving a bye to the final, ‘Rego’ beat four-time ABA champion Conor Kelsall in the decider on a split-decision to claim gold in his first tournament since his brief pro stint.
Some might argue the win vindicates Buckley’s decision but the 21-year-old Wicklow puncher claims he always knew the move was right for him.
“I was already 100% sure about my move back there was no doubt in my mind about the decision, we knew it was the right move and this tournament wasn’t about winning or losing it was about getting the ring rust off and getting rounds in so to get the gold was a huge bonus,” Buckley told Irish-Boxing.com before reflecting on the win.
“To get the win over in London feels great, it was the perfect way to get back into the amateurs and it was straight in against a very good boxer. He is a four-time ABA champion and he won the senior Tri-Nations over there too and to beat a lad like that first one back was fantastic.”
Now having banked his first big win Buckley has his eyes set on more amateur honours.
An Elite title at 49kgs is the next goal and the Tokyo Olympics is on the to-do list.
Ever since the departure of Paddy Barnes the Irish little man slot has been up for grabs.
Stevie McKenna defeated Buckley in the 2016 final, while Barnes was in the WSB, but quickly moved up in weight and into the pro game. Blaine Dobbins and Connor Jordan claimed the subsequent Elite titles but were overlooked by the IABA for international duty.
Buckley believes he is the man to carry the torch going forward and outlined how “one of my goals is Tokyo 2020 and I feel its a realistic goal for me.”
“I’ll be working to take the 49kg Elite title this year and get as much international experience as possible between them and qualifying events. Then when the qualifiers do come around I’ll be more than ready for them.”
Buckley noted the difference in style between the codes but claims he has merge the two to ensure success.
“The amateurs is a lot faster, up on the toes constantly, feinting and looking to score and get out of range fast compared to the pros which are more about sitting down on the shots.”
“My dad never let me lose my amateur style but instead he added to it giving me the best of both worlds so I can change my style from fast to powerful when needed. This stood to me as I was able to adapt straight away back the amateur style,” continued the young talent before a shout out to his sponsors.
“My sponsors have been a great help 3Scaffolding, Coach Inn Bray, Supreme Altitude, and Nutrition365. We have built up a great relationship and we will stay close even though I am not pro anymore.”