DAVE BIRMINGHAM spoke of the pride at his performance in short-notice defeat to Irish star Paul Hyland Jnr.
And the former Pompey defender has vowed to fight on and claim a Southern Area title after winning friends with his effort in Belfast.
Birmingham fell to a fourth-round loss after his corner threw in the towel as the pair collided at the Europa Hotel.
The 37-year-old was pleased with his showing, however, and drew credit from the Irish boxing fraternity.
Birmingham felt the contest came to a slightly premature close but believed he could be content as he reflected on his performance.
He said: ‘We all knew it was a big ask to take the fight at eight days’ notice and I gave it everything I had.
‘There was a lot of respect from Paul Hyland Jnr and his team. They showed their class.
‘They admitted they underestimated me and thought they’d get me out of there in a round, but said I was a tough so and so.
‘They took the time to give me a lot of credit and treated me well.
‘I didn’t have a lot of people over there with me at the weigh-in.
‘They said there would be boos for me, but Hyland Jr said I was there to fight and should be cheered. That was a nice touch.
‘It was a no-lose situation for me. I had to weather the storm in the first round but came through it.
‘I was surprised the towel came in and people seemed to think it was early, but my corner felt it was the right thing to do.
‘But I’m pleased to have given a good account of myself.’
Birmingham is not looking for rest after his experience in Ireland and is aiming to quickly get back into the ring.
The Hyland Jnr defeat is his second loss in eight fights, but the lightweight isn’t concerned about having a couple of defeats on his record.
Birmingham pointed out there’s no shame in coming up short against an opponent of Hyland Jnr’s quality at short notice and he’s not interested in inflating his record against journeyman.
At the age of 37, Birmingham is a man in a hurry and explained he wants to be in meaningful contests.
He added: ‘Records mean nothing. I’m not interested in having an unbeaten record and fighting nobody.
‘I don’t want a big step down now. I want to be in 50-50 fights. I won’t rest until I’ve got that Southern Area title.’