BRITISH super-featherweight champion Gary Buckland returns home tomorrow for his first fight in Newport for three years.
The 26-year-old St Josephs star warms up for his next title defence with an eight-rounder against talented Dutchman Innocent Anyanwu at the Newport Centre.
It is the third change of opponent for Buckland since the fight was announced with Nigeria-born Anyanwu replacing Poland’s Maurycy Gojko, who had earlier replaced Albanian Ibrar Riyaz.
And, while his mind may be on the title showdown with Stephen Foster Jr in Sheffield on October 5, Buckland is determined not to be guilty of underestimating Innocent.
“This is a fight just to keep active and keep myself fit but he’ll give me a better test” said the champ.
“Looking at the records of the others I wanted a tougher challenge. He’s boxed some good boys and he’ll prepare me better for facing Foster Jr.
“It was a team decision. We wanted to make sure I wasn’t undercooked for October and we wanted to give the fans happy as well.
“It’s good to be back in Newport because I haven’t boxed here since 2009 against Henry Castle,” he added.
“It’s important for the fans because they’ve followed me around the country for the last three years and this is one for them really.”
Anyanwu’s record of 21 wins, four defeats and two draws suggests he will give Buckland a good workout.
The 33-year-old recently took European champion Ermano Fegatilli the distance before losing on points and Buckland is keen to challenge the Belgian this year.
“I’m feeling good and and I’m raring to go,” he said. “Once I win I’m planning to have a week off and then get straight back in the gym to get ready to beat Foster Jr.
“After that I want a crack at the European title as well, hopefully before the end of the year.”
Buckland versus Anyanwu is the headline act on the ‘Return of the Welsh Warriors’ show presented by Steve Sims Promotions in association with Tony Borg. Tickets are available on 01633 656657.