Prospect Mitch Buckland Ready to Push Up the Rankings

Q&A with Mitch Buckland
Mitchell Buckland training in the gym.

Cardiff’s Mitch Buckland (12-0, 2 KOs) has been on the radar of all Welsh boxing fans. The 24-year-old had a decorated amateur career and has gone undefeated as a professional.

His older brother Gary Buckland (31-7, 10 KOs), was a British & Commonwealth champion. Like his brother, Mitch is a fierce competitor.

Southpaw Mitch was winning domestic titles within his first ten fights. He’s already done ten rounds twice. Under the tutelage of trainer Tony Borg, he’s preparing to push on to the next stage of his career.

I caught up with him at St. Joseph’s Gym, Newport, Wales. The home of IBF World featherweight champion Lee Selby.

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How did you first get into boxing? What was your first gym?

Followed my brothers into the gym, when I was eight years of age. Followed them into this gym, St. Joseph’s, and been here ever since. Fought here as an amateur and professional, been to no other gyms, this has been my gym since day one.

What was your amateur record? Amateur achievements?

Boxed in the amateurs. I had about 60 fights, won 50, lost about ten. Six times Welsh junior champion, three times national junior champion (GB). Bronze in the Commonwealth Games and the World Games (at Junior level). Boxed in the Europeans. Turned professional when I was eighteen, so I never really done much as a senior, as I turned straight over.

When I was 16/17, in the GB’s I won that three times. Won Gold three times on the trot.

When Josh Taylor won the silver in the Commonwealth Games (2010), I went and boxed him in his hometown. I beat him but lost, if you know what I mean.

How do you think Josh Taylor has done?

He’s done amazing. There were talks of a fight between me and him when Barry McGuigan put on a show in Cardiff (in 2016 both fought on the card). We just took different routes. He’s a really good lad, I rate him a lot.

You turned professional in 2012. How have you found the professional game?

I love it but I’ve had a few ups and downs. I’ve had a few major family problems, which have set me back. But, I’m back now and raring to go. Still, 12-0. Got nothing to lose, go for it all now.

Best win to date?

The best win would be winning the Celtic title, after six fights. Beating Craig Woodruff for the Celtic title at lightweight. Then winning it again against Alistair Black at super lightweight. Either one of those, winning a title is nice, isn’t it.

Toughest opponent?

Would’ve been that French kid, in the Ice Arena (Cardiff, 2016). He (Mohamed Larabi) was tough. In saying that, I’m going to go back on my word. I’m gonna go back to my first opponent, my first fight, Ideh Ochuko. He’d fought eight, won four and weighed in a stone heavier than me. He put me on my arse in the first ten seconds and I thought “this game’s not for me” (laughs). The referee’s counting and I’m all over the place. I ended up boxing his head off, for the four rounds, giving him a good seeing to. But, he was a tough guy. It was in Sheffield on the undercard of my brother (Gary) defending his British title (against Paul Truscott).

Who is your manager & promoter?

Just signed a contract with Mo Prior. Still working with Brian Powell, so two managers.

Is the Welsh title something that you’d like to win?

Yeah, definitely. When I boxed Craig Woodruff, he was Welsh champion, and we fought for the Celtic title. The Board (BBBoC) never realised he was Welsh champion, so that should’ve been on the line anyway. I still class myself as winning it, as I beat the Welsh champion, over ten rounds, for a Celtic title which covers Wales (Scotland & Ireland). If it comes, it comes. I’ll take anything, you know me.

You were meant to fight Chris Jenkins, would that have been for the Welsh title?

It was going to be Welsh and Celtic, I think. That would’ve been great – I would’ve been in top form for that. I was raring to go for that fight. I’d just come out of the fight, at the Ice arena (against Laribi in 2016) and was straight back in the gym. Straight back in training camp with five weeks to go. That fell through. You need luck in boxing and I haven’t had much of it.

Is that fight still a possibility?

Yes, definitely. I’ve moved up a weight now. Don’t really know what weight I’ll be campaigning at; welterweight or light middleweight. Whichever one I feel comfortable at.

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When are you fighting next?

7th April in Ebbw Vale. Gonna be a six rounder.

How can people get hold of tickets?

Contact me on Facebook. I got coaches going up. Be nice for the support, would love the support. Trying to build a fanbase, which I need. So, yeah just get hold of me.

What are your plans for 2018?

Get another six-rounder under my belt. Then, hopefully, an eight rounder. Then I’m willing for anything, whatever they chuck at me. Get two fights out of the way and then I’m looking for titles. Hopefully, touch wood, not looking beyond these fights – I’ll be 14-0. Then, I’m ready for anything.

How far away are you from a British title?

If they give me a good ten-week training camp, I’d be ready in ten weeks. Not a problem.

Prediction for Joshua vs Parker?

Joshua KO. If not, Parker KO. (laughs) Either way one of them is getting KO’d.

Who are your sponsors?

Thank you to my sponsors Terry Howell Building Supplies & Timber Merchants, FeltFab Facilities & Capital UPVC.

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