ST JOSEPH’S star Gary Buckland is aiming to send Gavin Rees into retirement with a fourth successive defeat on his record.
Newbridge fighter Rees, who turns 34 today, will step into the ring for the final time for the highly-anticipated rematch with Buckland at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena next Saturday night.
And, while Buckland is full of respect for Rees, he is determined to repeat his hard-fought victory at the same venue in February.
“I’m not surprised that Gavin is going to call it a day,” said Buckland.
“Even before the last fight I couldn’t see what else he could achieve in the sport.
“He’s done it all; he’s won British, European and world titles and won Prizefighter.
“He’s a credit to the sport and he’s not going to want to go out on a loss but I want to carry on and I’ve got to go out there and beat him and go on to bigger and better things.”
Buckland and Rees have a good relationship outside the ring but there will be a bit of heat between them on Saturday after the last fight was settled by a split decision.
Rees was convinced that he had come out on top and, not surprisingly, Buckland disagrees but he knows he still has a point to prove.
“I’ve known Gavin for years, since I turned professional, and he’s someone I’ve always looked up to,” he said.
“We’ve sparred hundreds of rounds together and we had a great fight last time and this will be the same again.
“A lot of people think he won it but I’ve looked back at the recording and I think I was the younger man, I was sharper and I just wanted it more.
“He was showing good aggression but I’ve got to go out there and prove those doubters wrong this time.
“I’m a come forward fighter so it’ll be the same type of fight but hopefully I’ll be a bit fitter this time and I’ll win the fight again.”
That defeat was the third in a row for Rees following his losses to Adrien Broner and Anthony Crolla last year and saw Buckland bounce back from being knocked out by Stephen Smith to lose his British super-featherweight title.
“Even if the last fight had gone the other way I was proud of myself after the loss to Stephen Smith,” he said.
“I knew I was far from finished and that proved it but I got the victory and that was a big bonus. Now I’ve got to do it again.”
Buckland v Rees II is on the same bill as Lee Selby’s official eliminator for the WBC featherweight title against Romulu Koasicha.
Cefn Fforest ace Nathan Cleverly also makes his debut at cruiserweight and Mitchell Buckland and Robbie Turley are in action.
Tickets can be purchased from Buckland on 07826175746 or his manager Brian Powell on 07821004684.