Epping boxer Richard Commey is targeting further improvement after beating Gary Buckland to win the Commonwealth lightweight belt on Saturday

Richard Commey is overcome with emotion after beating Gary Buckland. Picture: Action Images

Richard Commey is overcome with emotion after beating Gary Buckland. Picture: Action Images

First published in Football by

Richard Commey says beating Gary Buckland to win the vacant Commonwealth lightweight belt on Saturday was “amazing” but insists he can still improve.

The 27-year-old Ghanaian, who currently lives in Epping with his trainer Carl Lokko and manager Michael Amoo-Bediako, overcame Buckland (28-5-0) on points, 117-111, 117-111, 118-110, at York Hall.

“I’m feeling very good and very excited. It means so much to be Commonwealth champion and I’m very happy,” said Commey. “Gary Buckland is a top fighter and I’m just very happy I’m now a champion. I went the distance with a guy who is highly rated and well known within the game.

“It’s a great feeling to be a Commonwealth champion – which is a step up for me as well in my boxing career.

“But once again, Gary has been to that level, so despite beating him and going the distance, I can still learn more and I can improve.”

Commey, who is now unbeaten in 18 professional fights – winning 17 by knockout – had never been beyond the eighth round previously but was made to go the distance by the Cardiff-born fighter in his first Commonwealth title fight.

“Honestly speaking, I’ve trained so hard and I’ve prepared so hard and there’s no-one on this earth who has had to test their record without going the distance and when you get to the top level you always have to train and make sure you’re ready to go the distance,” explained Commey. “And that’s what – since I came through to fight as a professional boxer – I’ve always prepared myself for; that I’m going to go the distance.”

The Accra-born fighter continued: “It’s such a great experience for me; people are now saying I’m someone who can last the distance. So it’s not too hard for me because I prepared myself for this. I’ve been training for the future, I’ve been training so hard and whatever comes in the future, I’m prepared to go for the full 12 rounds. It’s normal; it’s what I train for.”

The early rounds went the way of Buckland, who was looking to avoid back-to-back defeats following a split-decision loss to Gavin Rees in May.

Round six saw the pendulum swing in Commey’s favour, with the ABU lightweight and IBF Continental African lightweight title holder taking charge of the centre of the ring and landing a number of body shots on 28-year-old Buckland.

Commey was unable to land the telling blow but continued to control proceedings before Buckland was deducted a point for punching his opponent in the back of the head, sealing his fate.

And for Commey, beating the former British super featherweight champion and 2010 Prizefighter winner had extra significance. He said: “It makes it more special to beat a fighter like Gary, you don’t have to just take that from me; he’s been there to that level and fighting him is a great chance for me to come and beat a boxer like him.

”It makes it more special when you’re fighting someone with a better fight record and more experience than me. To come up and beat him and get the title was amazing.”

Commey will mark his success by taking the belt home to Ghana when he visits his family later this week.

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