TRAINER Tony Borg is “happy and confident” Mitch Buckland can mark his long-awaited return to the ring with a 12th successive career victory.

Unbeaten Buckland fights for the first time in 17 months tonight when he tackles Englishman Darryl Sharp at the LC in Swansea on a Mo Prior promotion.

St Joseph’s ace Buckland was due to defend his Celtic super-lightweight title against Jason Easton 12 months ago when things took a sudden turn for the worse.

Wife Rachael fell down the stairs at the couple’s St Mellons home and was placed in an induced coma following an operation to remove a piece of bone and a damaged part of her brain.

She subsequently came out of the coma and returned home to Mitch and their children, Ella-Rose and Lorenzo.

Borg has admitted Buckland, who will be fighting at super-middleweight tonight, is “not in the best shape”, but he didn’t want to delay the 24-year-old’s comeback any longer.

“Mitch has had a lot of trauma in the family so it has been really hard for him to get back to where he was,” said Borg.

“He had really good hand speed before and he still has that, but it’s been difficult for him to get the weight off so he’s fighting at super-middle now.

“I didn’t want to put this fight off any longer because if we had he probably wouldn’t have been fighting until January.

“I still expect to see those fast hands in the ring this weekend, and a crowd pleasing performance to get the win.

“And I’m happy and confident that Mitch can pull it off on the night.”

When asked what could have happened to Buckland’s career without the enforced break, he added: “He would have been up there challenging with the best of them.”

Speaking last month, Buckland said: “It’s been a long time since my last fight – too long. I’m itching to get back.

“I’ve been looking after the kids and helping Rachael get back on her feet.

“She’s doing well, a few minor problems, but that’s to be expected after what she has been through.”

Buckland is the younger brother of former British super-featherweight king Gary, who retired earlier this year after a 38-fight professional career.

Gwent’s Kieran Gething and Kody Davies also feature on tonight’s bill in Swansea, while Caerphilly’s Callum Busuttil meets Feargal McCrory at the SSE Arena in Belfast.