10:02am Monday 19th August 2013
By Michael Pearlman
CWMBRAN'S Gary Lockett arguably enhanced his career more than anyone at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night and he did it without throwing a single punch.
The former world title contender - whose final fight, against American Kelly Pavlik, ended in similar circumstances to Nathan Cleverly's first defeat - saw all three of his fighters triumph on an impossibly good evening for a young trainer.
Swansea's Enzo Maccarinelli would have been a massive favourite to capture Ovill McKenzie's Commonwealth title at a different time in his career, but to many the stunning 11th round stoppage win for the Bonymaen boxer came as a huge surprise.
Since being defeated by David Haye in a cruiserweight battle in 2008 to unify the division, Maccarinelli has been stopped four times and has seen many pundits call for him to retire.
His November loss to McKenzie was controversial but there was nothing irregular about the return battle, a blood and thunder fight ended by a savage left hand from Maccarinelli that stopped the Derbyshire fighter on his feet.
But that Maccarinelli was already ahead in the fight is Lockett's victory, his tactics - Maccarinelli fighting on the front foot and defending in the same manner by walking McKenzie onto the ropes - paying dividends with Lockett uncharacteristically vocal in the corner.
His fighter visibly grew in confidence as a result and coupled with Lewis Rees and Liam Williams both winning all eight sessions of their contests with Dee Mitchell and Darren Cordona respectively at welter and middleweight, it's hard to imagine there was a happier man in South Wales on Saturday than the Rocket Man.
There was also cause for celebration in the Evans household as Craig Evans continued his unbeaten run in the lightweight division with an 80-73 win over Yousef Al Hamidi, around about an hour-and-a-half after younger brother Rhys won his pro debut in style, defeating Matt Seawright 40-36.
However, it was a dreadful evening for the St Joseph's Gym - and we haven't said that for many years - as Gary Buckland lost his British super featherweight crown in brutal fashion.
A nothing-in-it sort of a contest was warming up nicely by the fifth session when a savage right uppercut from Stephen Smith knocked Buckland out cold.
It was a frightening moment, oxygen and EMT's required to stir Buckland whose concerned family were hysterical at ringside amid chaotic scenes. Thankfully, he left the ring of his own volition.
It was only a third career defeat for Buckland and is all the more frustrating as he was bidding to win the Lonsdale belt outright, said by him to be a lifelong dream.
St Joes other boxer on the night, Bridgend's Danni Griffiths, was beaten 39-38 by Courtney Richards at cruiserweight over four threes, on his professional debut. Judging by the face of trainer Tony Borg, he like many others, felt it was a harsh decision.
There was at least one piece of good news for Vince Cleverly, however, his debutant, Aled Cook from Maesteg, beating Kieron Gray 40-36 over four rounds.
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