Floyd Moore was way short of his best as edged a 58-57 points win over Slovakian Ivan Godor at the Mountbatten Centre.
Moore admitted he was lacking in fitness as he often laboured against the journeyman on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old, who is a two-times Southern Area champion, is still hungry to make his mark.
And he reckons the display can act as a wake-up call for the challenges ahead.
He said: ‘I trained hard – but not hard enough. Sometimes you forget how hard it is in there.
‘You really have to put in the hours when you’re in the gym. I maybe cut a couple of corners because I have other commitments now.
‘A win’s a win, though, but I want to prove I’ve still got what it takes. I’m still just 27 and I have a lot more to give.
‘I know I just have to train harder and put more hours into the gym. I wasn’t fit enough.’