Cameron Hardy toasted a third successive victory but admitted: I needed a wake-up call.
The featherweight, who trains out of Southsea’s Gym 01, defeated Bailey Gilbert via unanimous decision at Made4TheCage 27: Vendetta in Sunderland on Saturday.
It was the first time the Royal Navy supply chain logistician went the full three rounds and moved his record to 3-1.
However, the Darlington-born ace had to overcome adversity to clinch success.
Hardy made a slow start in the first round and was caught with an elbow after being taken to the ground.
It opened up a cut above the 23-year-old’s eye – which he thought may have caused the referee to intervene.
However, it gave Hardy the fillip he needed. He went on to win rounds two and three and take the contest.
By his own admission, the Gym 01 charge didn’t close the distance enough in the early stages.
But he was delighted to deliver a win over the ‘tough and durable’ Gilbert.
Hardy said: ‘It was a good fight and I enjoyed it.
‘He was really tough and durable.
‘I got off to a really slow start in the first round but started to get a feel for it towards the end.
‘I landed a shot and then he caught one of my kicks and took me to the ground.
‘Bailey landed in my guard and I wasn’t busy enough.
‘He managed to drop an elbow and it cut me open quite badly.
‘I initially thought it was a good shot. Then I saw the blood running out and I thought “that could be quite bad”.
‘I wasn’t sure if I was going to be stopped or not because of the cut and it gave me a bit of a push.
‘Then I pretty much dominated rounds two or three.
‘I needed that wake-up call, although Brian (Adams) would have given me it in the corner anyway.
‘I started off a bit too slow.
‘Personally, in rounds two and three, I thought I dominated.
‘Fair play to Bailey, though, he kept pushing and made it hard for me.
‘I was moving about but I needed to get to him more.’
Hardy is scheduled for a quick turnaround.
He’s due to face Kingsley Crawford on BAMMA Fight Night London on June 28, in front of the ITV cameras.
However, because of the cut he received against Gilbert, Hardy will now have to assess if he’s able to compete.
He added: ‘Brian and I are going to decide this week.
‘I reckon I will be okay but we can’t exactly go to BAMMA and say three days before that I’m not fighting.’