BRITISH super-featherweight champion Gary Buckland returns to Newport for his first fight in Wales for almost three years next month.
The 26-year-old champion, who trains with Tony Borg at the St Josephs gym, takes on Albanian Ibrar Riyaz at the Newport Centre on Saturday, July 21.
Buckland was due to defend his title in Newport last November but had to pull out due to injury and has not fought in the city since out-pointing Henry Castle on July 24, 2009.
Riyaz has won only four of his 40 fights and is without a victory since April 2010 but he did go the distance with ex-champion Gary Sykes back in 2009.
This will not be a title defence for Buckland but manager Brian Powell believes Riyaz will provide his man with a good test over ten rounds.
“This is the first fight for Gary in Wales for some time so we thought it was important to build up his fan-base here,” said Powell.
“Riyaz will provide him with a good workout before hopefully we return to Newport for the title defence against Stephen Foster Jnr in September or October.”
Buckland, who is under contract with Hatton Promotions, will be promoted by ex-British featherweight champion Steve Sims for this fight on a one-off basis.
“The Hattons have lost their TV deal with Sky,” explained Powell.
“They have signed a new deal but that won’t start until September and Gary couldn’t afford to wait until then without a fight so we’ve teamed up with Steve for this one fight.”
The show is being marketed as ‘The Return of the Welsh Warriors’ under the banner of Steve Sims Promotions in association with Tony Borg.
Also on the bill Newport’s Justyn Hugh and Pontypool’s Jeff Evans will battle it out for the Welsh light-heavyweight title and St Josephs light-heavyweight Frankie Borg takes on Danny Butler for the British Masters title.
A packed undercard features Mitchell Buckland, Dorian Darch, Craig Woodruff, Lewis Patterson, Dai Jones, Adam Goldsmith and Chris Higgs.
“It’s a very exciting show,” said Sims.
“It’s the best line-up we’ve had for any show we’ve done in Newport and the undercard is electrifying as well.”
Tickets are available from the Newport Centre on 01633 656757. The box office is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Saturday.
Tickets are also available from Brian Powell on 07821 004684.