Sean Dodd is now in line to face Scott Cardle for the British lightweight title after defeating veteran Welsh brawler Gary Buckland over 10 rounds.
Dodd, who was a late replacement for the injured Cardle, boxed smartly and precisely in the early stages. The Birkenhead fighter landed a couple of big uppercuts, particularly in the second, and did enough to take the first two rounds.
Buckland, the valiant veteran who was competing in his 37th professional fight, was pressing forward and throwing a high volume of punches, however, he was struggling to hurt Dodd.
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The Welshman did enough to take the third after some good work to Dodd’s body. Dodd, though, was holding his own against an opponent who has mixed it with world level operators, such as Gavin Rees and Stephen Smith.
Despite not doing enough to win the fourth round, Dodd would’ve been encouraged by his work. In the closing stages of the round, the two stood toe to toe and landed a number of decent shots. Many thought Buckland would be too powerful for Dodd, but the underdog wasn’t hurt by any of Buckland’s blows.
The balance of power shifted during the fifth round; Dodd began to press forward and was in the centre of the ring a lot more than any previous period of the fight. Buckland’s tireless work rate was beginning to slow and Dodd hit a clean left hook counter that momentarily rocked Buckland. After five round, I had Dodd leading by 3 rounds to 2.
Buckland was the busier of the two fighters in the sixth as Dodd’s punch volume began to slightly decrease. Dodd, though, was moving intelligently and wasn’t getting hit with many big shots. Towards the end of the round, Buckland did land a glancing right hook which, if it had connected flush, would’ve put Dodd in trouble.
As the fight went into the latter stages, the general feeling was that Dodd (who had only been preparing for a six round fight) would really start to feel the pace and leave himself exposed. Buckland, however, was the one who seemed to be struggling. Dodd boxed smart in the seventh and eighth, often switching to southpaw, and did enough to take both rounds; a terrific left hook in the eighth being the highlight.
Buckland, to his credit, continued to come forward in the ninth round. It was Dodd, though, who once again was producing the more eye-catching work; the round ended with Buckland on the ropes after a good left jab, right cross combination.
Prior to the start of the final round, the two shared a touch of gloves and a hug which was met with applause from the crowd; no matter what the outcome, this had been a terrific fight. For me, it was Dodd, again, who landed more scoring punches. Buckland was unable to muster up one final assault and the decision went to the referee (Mark Lyson).
Lyson scored the bout 97-95 in favour of the Dodd, who produced the best performance of his career. The 250 fans who had made the short trip to the Olympia arena from Birkenhead were sent into a frenzy.
Dodd (10 wins (2 KOs) and 1 loss) was in a humble mood after the fight, he said: “I used to watch Gary Buckland and think ‘wow, what a fighter’, he was one of my favourite fighters." He later added: “It’s a dream come true, I’m lost for words.
Buckland (30 wins (9 KOs) and 7 losses) was honest in his assessment, he said: “I felt flat as a pancake, really. I just felt defeated. I’ve got no excuses.”