JOEL MCINTYRE set his sights on a breakthrough 2014 after gaining the bragging rights over Danny Couzens.
Leigh Park’s McIntyre picked up a 100-92 points win in an exciting local showdown with the Titchfield scrapper.
That saw the 25-year-old collect the International Masters Silver light-heavyweight crown at Liquid & Envy nightclub, as he stepped up to the 10-round distance for the first time.
The 10-0 man showcased some eye-catching hooks and upper-cuts throughout the contest.
McIntyre assumed the ascendancy after a fast-paced and relatively even opening, where both boxers enjoyed success.
But he had to come through a testing ninth round where two hurtful left hooks from Couzens had him holding on.
That was after McIntyre injured his hand in the seventh round, slowing his progress over the finale.
It was his arm which was held aloft by referee Marcus McDonnell after the final bell in a crowd-pleasing contest, however. And McIntyre admitted that was a special feeling on a night for the man, nicknamed El Toro, to savour.
Now he wants to continue his development and push towards further titles in the new year.
McIntyre said: ‘It feels brilliant.
‘I’m pleased to get through the 10 rounds, feeling good and doing it with style. The support was overwhelming. They were unbelievable and I’m humbled by it.
‘I put the effort into my training camp and it paid off.
‘There are a lot of factors to contend with when it comes to Danny Couzens, and I’ve got respect for him.
‘I shipped a couple of punches and it was a hard ninth round, but I felt comfortable.
‘Tony Oakey had an amazing support, and I think I’ve picked a few of them up because we’re from the same area.
‘People like to see others from the local area do well.
‘It makes me happy to think people pay their money to support me.
‘I’m just a bloke from a council estate, and people want to get behind me. That means a lot.
‘There are other titles out for me, so I have to sit down with my management and see what is next.
‘I’ll have Christmas off and then go from there.’
Couzens admitted the better man came away with the title.
But he took heart from giving McIntyre plenty to think about and serving up an entertaining contest.
The 29-year-old moves to 5-9-2 with the loss, but vowed he is not walking away from boxing just yet.
Couzens said: ‘Joel won fair and square and was the better boxer on the night.
‘I could’ve boxed better and been busier, but it was a good fight and I’m glad I’ve played my part in it.
‘I hurt him in the ninth and he was holding on. But he was stronger than I thought, and he did hurt me to the body a couple of times.
‘I didn’t agree with the referee’s scorecard, though. He didn’t give me a round!
‘I think Joel pinched the rounds from me without dominating all the time. But it was nice to give the crowd their money’s worth.
‘So I’ll have a breather over Christmas and go again. I’m not ready to give up yet.’
Meanwhile, road warrior Liam Griffiths picked up a deserved win on he is return to home soil.
The Bognor light-middleweight grabbed a 39-38 points win against Swansea’s Matt Ashmole over four close and entertaining rounds.
And Andy Gatenby showed again why he’s one to watch, as he outmuscled the heavier and vastly more experienced Dan Carr to win widely over four rounds.
Gatenby was the aggressor throughout with his barrage of hooks seeing him get the 40-36 verdict.
Bolton’s Chris Jenkinson was also a points winner over Trowbridge’s Dan Blackwell.