By Alexey Sukachev
Sheffield, England, Ponds Forge Arena - Gary Buckland defeats his domestic rival Gary Sykes for a second time, and wins the British super featherweight crown. Buckland (24-2, 8KOs) outworked Sykes (19-2, 5KOs) to secure a twelve round unanimous decision. The scores were 115-114, 115-113, and 116-113. Last November, Buckland knocked Sykes out in the first round of their Prizefighter semi-final bout.
Buckland is small and reckless but a powerful little slugger with dynamite in his punches. Sykes, on the other hand, is more of a technician with decent tactical skills. As it was expected, The Welsh "Dynamo" started to revolve in close quarters. Buckland tried to mix in uppercuts with a sudden attack of body punches to hurt Sykes and to stop him in his tracks.
In the first three rounds Buckland was the more successful fighter of the two as he landed one punch after another, while Sykes looked inept to stop the Welshman from being both precise and aggressive with his right hand. The situation changed considerably in the fourth round, when Sykes finally started to find a room for his jab and scored frequently with the use of his right hands. The champion looked to be the better fighter for the three next rounds.
The see-saw action continued in the second half of the fight. Rounds seven through nine were once again in favor of Sykes, who landed several quality punches but was unable to wobble the onrushing Buckland. In the tenth and in the eleventh stanzas, the Welshman once again gained control of the contest as both boxers exchanged some hard blows in the closing rounds. Sykes tried his best to win the twefth and final round and he even landed a thunderous uppercut to rock Buckland badly but it was too little and ultimately too late to get him a win.
All three judges scored the fight closely but unanimously in Buckland's favour: 115-114, 115-113 and 116-113. Former lightweight world champion Jim Watt of Sky Sports also had it 115-114 - for Buckland while BoxingScene felt this fight ended in a draw: 114-114.
WBC/WBA #10 ranked super bantamweight Rendall Munroe (23-2, 9 KOs) came back to the squared circle to score a hard-fought but rather wide victory over Japanese Ryuta Miyagi (21-6-4, 16 KOs) over ten rounds. Miyagi, 36, applied some pressure to Munroe, 31, early in the fight and continued to press the action all night long. However, he was too straight-forward in his actions, which prevented him from being a real danger to the Englishman, who landed his uppercuts and short left hooks at will.
At the end of the fight, referee Howard Davis Jr., who was the only judge, scored the fight 98-92 - for Munroe, who got a small measure of sweet revenge for his loss to WBC champion Toshiaki Nishioka (also from Japan) a year ago.