IT WAS a magical night for the majestic Gary Buckland on Friday as he cruised to take the Celtic lightweight crown and dethrone Scot Martin Watson in some style.

The challenger dominated a man who had taken Newbridge's Gavin Rees the distance at the Millennium Stadium just over a year ago.

Buckland was sublime and lost just one round out of ten in an intriguing contest at the Newport Centre.

Buckland's trainer, Tony Borg, at Newport's St Joseph's gym, believes his man can emulate Rees and become a world champion.

Watson's corner seemed on the verge of throwing in the towel as the bell rang for the eighth round and it looked as if it was the referee who actually dragged him back into battle.

Buckland's sustained barrage of body blows and jabs had the Scotsman in deep trouble.

At the end of the seventh round Watson was retching, in some considerable discomfort and pain that brought sympathy from spectators as the concerned medical officer looked on, making sure he was fit to soldier on.

But although Watson's bravery was unquestioned his courage was in vain as Buckland scented blood and moved in for the kill.

To his credit, though, Watson never went down.

At the end of the fight Borg said: "What a fight that was and I think it just showed how talented Gary is, what a massive heart he has and that he is a fighter with the moves to go with it.

"That kid (Watson) lasted six rounds with Gavin Rees and look at him now (Rees). I think Gary's definitely got it in him to be a world champion."

A delighted Buckland, 21, smiled as he told the Argus: "I told you I'd win, didn't I? I always thought I was going to be too strong for him, although I am feeling tired now!"

Buckland cradled his newborn first son, also named Gary, in the ring as soon as he won the fight and the party started for the new champion and his fans.

It is an exciting time for him: "I don't know what's next. It's probably a British eliminator and then hopefully a Commonwealth shot. Anything that's bigger and better."

It was a good night for most of Buckland's stable- mates at St Joseph's.

Abercarn's Jamie Way was superb as he destroyed Cambridge light middleweight Lewis Byrne with some devastating punches.

Again, it was to Byrne's credit that he stayed on his feet throughout the four-round hammering which ended in a 40-36 points victory.

Tree surgeon Way said: "He was a tough boy, to be fair to him.

"I hit him with some good body shots and it was a good workout.

"I had some brilliant support from the crowd and I felt like I wanted to put on a good show for them, which I think I did."

Robbie James, from Rhymney, was too powerful for stand-in light middleweight Steve Cooper, from Worcester, and won easily on points over six rounds.

Cooper, who lost to Way when they fought in Newport in June, was no match for the physically superior James.

Although outclassed the tenacious Englishman refused to go down.

It was great weekend for the James family - Robbie's rugby winger brother Tom scored two tries for the Cardiff Blues in their away win at Munster.

This victory was Robbie's fourth straight win out of four.

Rising Cefn Fforest star Rob Turley was made to work hard for his victory over Bideford featherweight John Vanemmenis.

The fight started at a million miles an hour as Vanemmenis went for the 20-year-old Turley like a man possessed.

But roared on by around a hundred fans made up of family and friends, some thunderous Turley punches had Vanemmenis wobbling in the third round.

The fight was stopped immediately as the referee became concerned for Vanemmenis' safety.

Turley, who has recovered from a chronic chest infection which struck him last week, said: "I wasn't really up to scratch tonight.

"I don't know if the fight was stopped too soon - although he was all over the shop and his legs had turned to jelly - but we'll never know if he would have recovered or not.

"I had some great support and it felt like the whole of Cefn Fforest turned up tonight!"

The only dark cloud on an otherwise great night for the gym was a disappointing performance by Newport's Matthew Edmonds.

Edmonds, 23, looked out of sorts against rangy Scot Kris Hughes, narrowly defeated on points 58-57 after he made a slow start.

Edmonds came right back into it and looked to have done enough to have sneaked it or at least grabbed a draw, but it wasn't to be after a disappointing last round.

Edmonds sensed he could win and seemed to be chasing Hughes around the ring in the latter rounds, only for Hughes to just about keep him at bay with a desperate rearguard.

A devastated Edmonds said: "I don't know if it was a clash of styles - he was awkward.

"But I've no excuses - I lost the fight. But I can come back."

Also on the bill was Cardiff's David Gentles, who was making his professional debut at the ripe old age of 32 and a truly amazing comeback of sorts after being a schoolboy star some 16 years before.

But there was to be no fairytale for Gentles, who certainly doesn't live up to his name if his ferocious fight with Leicester super-middleweight Rashan Sohi, who just about won on points, is anything to go by.