Friday 27 January 2023 Dublin: 0°C
Soenar Chamid/INPHO Regan Buckley poses with his European light-flyweight medal in Minsk.
# Shock
2019 European medallist Regan Buckley retires from boxing aged 22
The Bray man cited financial reasons, and his not being selected for March’s Tokyo 2020 qualifiers, as cause to hang up his gloves.

EUROPEAN MEDALLIST REGAN Buckley has announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 22.

The popular Bray fighter, who won bronze in the light-flyweight (49kg) division at the European Games in Minsk last June, missed out on selection for March’s Olympic qualifiers and confirmed his shock decision to

Buckley won his first Irish Elite title last February before earning a bolt-from-the-blue continental bronze in Belarus.

Light-flyweight isn’t an Olympic weight class but Buckley was seen as a viable option up at flyweight, or 52kg. However, he was beaten by the Eric Donovan-trained Jude Gallagher — who has since moved up in weight — in November’s flyweight final. Brendan Irvine, a 2016 Olympian at the weight who missed November’s Elites, was then selected as Ireland’s flyweight representative for March’s qualifiers in London.

regan-buckley-celebrates Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Buckley celebrating his maiden Irish Elite title win in February of last year. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Speaking to, Buckley — who wasn’t a funded athlete despite last year’s European medal — explained that financial strain was at the root of his decision to “pack in boxing”.

“It was way too hard for me to keep on going training full-time and not have an income,” he said. “I was expected to be in the High Performance [in Abbotstown] training Tuesday to Friday each week and then weeks abroad at competitions and training camps — all of this without any funding whatsoever.

My only source of income was €44 a week from the social welfare and for a 22-year-old man it was impossible to even attempt to live off that. It was something always on my mind, worrying how I’m going to pay for anything at home: insurance, phone bills, rent. Had it not been for the help of my sponsors I wouldn’t have had a penny to my name when travelling abroad or wouldn’t have been able to get essential sparring gear.

“I did enquire many times about getting on funding with the High Performance but I was told it wasn’t possible each time, even after winning a bronze medal in the European Games.

“I put many years of hard work into this sport but the last year had been very tough for me to try and carry on and it finally got to a stage where it didn’t feel worth it anymore. So much worry and stress that nobody sees, just in the small chance that I get selected for a team,” added Buckley, who confirmed he has gotten a full-time job.

The St Teresa’s BC product stated that he had no intention of waiting around for the World qualifiers, set for Paris in May, for which there would be an off-chance that he would be selected if Irvine failed to qualify in London in March.

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Buckley, who earned two wins as a professional in his late teens — including one over current BUI Irish super-bantamweight champion Carl ‘The Cobra’ McDonald two divisions above his own — also confirmed he will not be making a return to the punch-for-pay ranks, which he described as being “more of the same hassle”.

You can read his full interview with here.

Andy Dunne and Murray Kinsella join Gavan Casey to tee you up for Sunday’s big one. The lads try to figure out where the winning and losing of the game will be, field a The42 member’s question as to what extent the media plays a role in Ireland’s performance, and Andy explains why Henry Tuilagi haunts his dreams at night.

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