GARY Buckland is being tipped to bounce back from defeat to Gavin Rees, writes Michael Pearlman.
The Cardiff boxer, who is one of the star turns of Tony Borg's St Joseph's gym in Newport, produced another tremendous display in the capital at the weekend against the Rock.
Despite losing on split-decision in the lightweight contest, a rematch of the first battle between the sparring partners that saw Buckland triumphant, there can be little doubt 'The Dynamo' has massively enhanced his reputation.
A nearly man who has endured more than a little misfortune as a professional, Buckland is now receiving plaudits for his involvement in back-to-back fight of the year contenders.
Naturally a super featherweight, Buckland is now being lined-up up for a return to that division in pursuit of recapturing the British title. Should he win it, Buckland would keep the famous Lonsdale belt outright, his lifelong boxing dream.
Buckland was again left in rough shape due to the toe-to-toe and at times, tough to watch brutality against Rees, the pair now having an hour and 12 minutes of fantastic footage to reflect on.
Rees, at 34, is walking away from boxing, but he's certain Buckland will return better than ever.
"Gary shouldn't feel bad whatsoever to lose to me in another great fight for the fans," Rees explained.
"I'm no bum, I've still got plenty to give and I think that was actually my best 12 round performance for a long, long time.
"But I've decided to walk away from boxing, but I have no doubt Gary will come back and win titles.
"He didn't have to take the fight after the last one, he did because he's a warrior."
Trainer Tony Borg was also confident Buckland will be back with a bang.
"Gary Buckland will now take a well deserved rest with his wife and two young sons Gary Jr and Bradley," he said.
"He will then be back in the gym with Team Borg in preparation for his return to super featherweight, which is his real fighting weight.
"Gary will be keen to regain the British title at super featherweight, securing the Lonsdale Belt in the process. We look forward to entertaining you all in the next fight."