GARY Buckland is set to be a major beneficiary of Ricky Hatton’s boxing comeback, the Argus can reveal.
Former world champion Hatton, who hasn’t fought in three years, will today announce his intention to return to the ring, expected to be on November 24 at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester.
It’s absolutely certain to mean big business – Hatton is one of Britain’s most popular sportsmen – especially as Hatton Promotions are rumoured to have agreed a new terrestrial television deal that has given Ricky the incentive to return to the ring.
Buckland, the main man in the thriving Newport boxing gym St Josephs, will defend his super featherweight title against domestic rival Stephen Foster Jr.
It’s set to be the biggest occasion Buckland has been involved with and will be a world away from the “keep busy” clash last time out at Steve Sims’ Newport Centre show against Innocent Anyanwu.
Buckland will enjoy exposure like never before and his trainer Tony Borg believes he has a major opportunity to make a big impact.
“As far as we know, Gary is definitely going to be on the bill I think we are all assuming is for Ricky Hatton’s comeback,” he said.
“It’s obviously going to be a huge night because of the popularity Ricky has and we’ve heard that there is a new TV deal in place.
“Ricky probably won’t deal with Sky again (Hatton Promotions were dropped by the broadcaster this year in favour of an exclusive deal with Eddie Hearn) but we’ve heard rumours it’s going to be on terrestrial television.
“If it is that’ll obviously be an opportunity Gary has never had and we don’t think Ricky would come back without the TV deal in place.”
Buckland is currently working hard under Borg’s supervision and he’ll be joined by a familiar face when Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans resumes training.
The Newport boxer has been following strict orders from Borg to “bask in the glory” of his success over the summer in London and is now going to begin considering his next move.
It is expected Evans will turn pro but nothing has been decided, according to Borg. “I just told Fred to bask in the glory and enjoy himself for a couple of weeks, he certainly deserved it,” he said.
“He’s popped his head into the gym a few times but he’s coming in on Sunday to train with me properly for the first time since he won the medal.
“After that we’ll have a chat and begin to talk things over. As it stands Fred is open to offers and suggestions but hasn’t made any firm plans for the future.