Enfield fighter Frank Buglioni says the Southern Area title is just a "stepping stone" on his journey to the top

Sam Couzens (right) is forced to take evasive action as Frank Buglioni takes charge. Picture: Action Images

Sam Couzens (right) is forced to take evasive action as Frank Buglioni takes charge. Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport by

Frank Buglioni says it was "fantastic" to return to the ring with a win but admits winning the Southern Area super-middleweight title against Sam Couzens is just the "stepping stone" to where he really wants to be.

The 25-year-old from Enfield beat Couzens (11-13-1) with a fourth-round stoppage last Wednesday at York Hall in his first fight since the disappointment of surrendering his WBO European super-middleweight title to Sergey Khomitsky in April.

Buglioni had been making strides up the WBO rankings when he suffered a sixth-round knockout defeat at the hands of the 39-year-old Belarusian.

Reflecting on Wednesday's win, Buglioni said: "It feels fantastic to get back in the ring with a win. I was very focused on my training beforehand and I was full of confidence going into the fight.

"The Southern Area title is a good achievement and it helps me in the rankings but it's just a stepping stone on the way to where I want to end up," added the 'Wise Guy'.

Buglioni had promised to blow Titchfield-born Couzens "out the water" in the build-up to the bout, and after a ruthless start which saw the 28-year-old floored with a powerful left hook, Buglioni was exposed on more than one occasion by his opponent.

The British number ten at super-middleweight always felt in control, though, and said: "I thought I caught him with lots of good shots and we knew he'd come back for a little go back after the first round but I knew he never had the power or the speed, so it was always a matter of when."

Couzens made the eight count in the first round and from there, went on to fight on the front foot and could have been ahead on the scorecards before the fight was stopped in the fourth.

A series of well-placed shots from Buglioni had Couzens against the ropes, leaving referee Bob Williams with little choice but to halt the contest in Buglioni's favour.

Contrasting the victory to defeat against the experienced Khomitsky, Buglioni felt he had addressed the issues which had cost him his WBO European title three months ago.

"I think the Sergey Khomitsky fight was a loss due to a lack of focus but also due to a couple of mistakes I made in the ring," explained Buglioni.

"I always give my all to my training and I enjoy my training but I think in the build-up to the Khomitsky fight I did a couple of things wrong and that cost me."

Having overcome the first setback of his professional career, Buglioni is now back in training and targeting two fights before the end of the year - one in September and one in December.

Said the Winchmore Hill-born fighter: "I'm back in training today and I'm looking to sit down with Frank Warren and discuss the next step - we're still reflecting on the last performance at the moment."

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