MITCH Buckland has pledged to shed the pounds ahead of his next fight after being “a bit embarrassed” with the shape he was in for Saturday’s emotional comeback bout at Swansea’s LC.

Buckland, a former Celtic super-lightweight champion, beat Darryl Sharp on points in a four-round super-middleweight contest following a 17-month hiatus from the ring.

A serious head injury sustained by wife Rachael last autumn saw the 24-year-old put his boxing career on hold to be with his family in St Mellons.

Rachael and the couple’s children, Lorenzo and Ella-Rose, were at ringside in Swansea to see Buckland secure a 12th straight win and maintain an unblemished professional record.

Buckland, trained by Tony Borg at St Joseph’s in Newport, was pleased with his display against Englishman Sharp but knows all too well that he isn’t in the best physical condition.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I felt strong, it’s just getting myself conditioned properly for the next one, but it’s a start.

“I’m happy with the performance and just happy to get back in there.

“I felt in control at all times.

“Mentally, I didn’t know if I was going to be up to the task but I was, and that’s a good thing for me – it’s just about getting my physique right. I’m boxing at 12 stone now, I should be 11-and-a-half or 11 for my next fight, so we’ll see how it comes down.

“I definitely need to bring the weight down for each fight. I was a bit embarrassed with my body but I’ve been out so long.

“It was just all about getting back in the ring to see where I’m at.

“I know I can do a lot better, like with my hand speed, but I just didn’t know what I had in the tank because I’ve been out for so long.

“I’ve hardly had any sparring and picked up a few injuries, but I got there and did it.”

On fighting again after such a long gap between contests, he added: “I was really nervous in the changing rooms.

“I have a bit of banter but underneath I’m nervous.

“Just as the bell was about to go I looked at my boy and he said ‘come on daddy, make me proud’ and I welled up, just as I was about to throw a punch.

“I didn’t know they were going to be ringside and when I looked in their direction I could see my son cheering me on and I was getting emotional. I was so proud to have the family watching. It meant the world to me to have them there, especially when the kids came in the ring afterwards.”

Buckland, whose fight opened the show on Saturday, was thrilled to have as many supporters there as he did.

“I struggle to get on bills away from home but I sold a few tickets, which I don’t normally do when I’m on the road,” he explained.

“I live in Cardiff and it’s hard for family and friends to travel to Swansea for a four-rounder.

“I’m looking to do a lot better with tickets when I hopefully fight in Newport on December 9.”