The fighter – who put the vest back on after a brief stint in the pro ranks – scored a superb unanimous decision over reigning champion Bator Sagalvev, who beat Ireland’s Brendan Irvine in the light-fly final at the inaugural European Games in Baku in 2015 – the Irish champion winning all three rounds on four cards and two rounds on the fifth.
It was the perfect start for the Bray fighter and that further vindicates his decision to return to the amateur set up.
It’s also a result that left him beaming in Belarus this afternoon.
“I am very happy. I know that lad won the European Games in 2015 so it was good to get the win against him. It was a good tough one to start me off, but I got through it. It will be all down hill from here please god,” he smiled post the win.
Such a victory should see Buckley become a person of interest for the remaining light flyweights in the Olympic-style competition.
Indeed, some may now install the St Teresa’s man as favourite to win the tournament outright, but the fighter himself is more coy.
“The way I am looking at it is everyone of the boys out here is an unbelievable boxer. They are all elite athletes and they are all well capable of medaling out here. I will treat everyone the same,” he adds.
The young talent now faces Martin Molina of Spain in the quarter finals on Tuesday and can’t wait to get back in the ring.
“I am really looking forward to it. I am raring to go again after getting to win so all guns blazing. ”
James McGivern was another to register a debut win in the contest.
The Belfast fighter moved into the last 16 of the light welterweight contest with a one sided win over Michal Takacs of Slovakia.
So dominant was the 21-year-old that he felt he may have forced a stoppage.
“I caught him early with a body shot and I knew that was going to work because the coaches told me that it work so I knew what was going to happen,” the former Commonwealth Youth Games gold medalist said.
“I was catching him better than he was catching me. I was getting him over the top and with the body shots. I think I hurt him in the second round and to honest when I hurt him I probably could have gone to try and stop him but I didn’t do it this time.”