Johnny Garton won the vacant IBF European welterweight title on Saturday but admitted: “I’ll have to be a lot better to claim the British belt.”
The Peckham puncher, 30, was involved in a gruelling war with Mihail Orlov before halting the Moldovan in the 10th round at the Copper Box Arena.
Garton’s record moved to 21-1-1. His sole loss was to Sam Eggington in April 2014.
The South Londoner is hoping to challenge for the domestic belt if his stable-mate Bradley Skeete relinquishes in 2018.
Despite no extensive amateur experience, Garton has previously won the Southern Area and English belts.
“If I want to fight for the British title then I need to perform better than that,” said Garton. “I dug deep. I always said you would have to carry me out of there – I’ll never quit. I proved that.
“But I am not happy with the performance. I should’ve boxed better and made it a lot more comfortable but there is ring rust. I’ve not boxed since April and I made hard work of it.
“I’ve been in the gym twice a day for the last five-and-a-half months and it might have taken a bit of a toll on me. I’ll be better next year.”
It was Garton’s first outing under new promoter Frank Warren but his title fight did not make the part of the show televised by BT Sport.
“It was a bit of a slugfest and that is what TV want,” he said. “I hope to get a TV slot next time.
“If I’m honest I thought I was behind going into the 10th round but I’ve been told I was actually a round in front on the scoring.”