WHILE Ricky Hatton’s long awaited comeback ended in tears at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, Newport’s Gary Buckland enjoyed a successful defence of his British title on the undercard, writes Andrew Penman.

The St Josephs ace is now just one victorious defence away from winning the Lonsdale Belt outright after stopping Stephen Foster Jr to retain his British super-featherweight title.

Buckland extended his record to 27-2 after eight rounds of an action-filled contest and is now setting his sights on the European crown “I want to win the Lonsdale Belt outright – that is one of my aims – but I’ll also be looking towards the European title,” said the 26-year-old.

“Coming down to super-featherweight from lightweight I feel strong. The punches I’m being hit with just aren’t affecting me.”

That was evident as the Welshman was at least two rounds ahead when a strong left hook ended Foster’s brave resistance.

He started fast and worked hard to the body, gradually focusing on the head as the contest wore on.

But Foster’s heart made it a gripping affair and the middle rounds were keenly contested with the former European champion desperate to restore his glory days.

In the sixth round, the two clashed heads, opening a cut on Foster’s forehead and Buckland seized his opportunity to pile on the pressure.

Crunching body shots pounded into Foster’s rib cage and he enjoyed a big eighth round as the Mancunian’s resistance began to wane.

It was enough for Foster and his corner to end the fight after the round – and now Buckland can move on to even bigger and better things.

After a further defence of his British title, the next target will be a challenge for the European belt currently held by Italian Devis Boschiero.

“I think it was a clash of styles. The two of us wanted to go forward and we were just clashing and holding and wanting to go inside,” he said. “I was waiting for the stoppage and I’m chuffed with that.

“We had a clash of heads and it played a part but it’s job done. He’s never been stopped before so I’m over the moon with that.

“I’ll either defend my title one more time or I’m number one challenger for the European now so we’ll see what comes next.”