Darren Barker admits his hunger for world title success helped him battle back from a knockdown to take the IBF middleweight belt from Daniel Geale.
Barker was awarded a split decision win over Geale in Atlantic City, but only after he had hauled himself off the canvas in the sixth round.
The Barnet man barely beat the count and grimly withstood another Geale attack before firing back bravely, with the referee watching on closely.
Barker took the fight to Geale in the next round and dug deep in the closing stages to secure victory on two of the judges' scorecards.
"I just wanted it so much and that's what got me through the tough times," said Barker, who dedicated the win to his late brother Gary.
"When I stuck to my boxing and kept it simple, I was winning the rounds comfortably but it was just the occasion and wanting it so much that I was loading up with big shots, but there was no stopping me because I wanted it so badly and when I was on the floor, even though I couldn't breathe there was no way I was staying down.
"I was taking a lot of shots on the gloves with my guard up and it might have looked like I was getting hit then but I wasn't, I was almost having a little breather in there. But the body shot completely took the wind out of me, I was gone.
"I was confident that I'd done enough and it was out of my hands, I had done my job for 12 rounds then it was up to Michael Buffer to read out the scores and find out my fate. I thought I won the fight and without the knockdown, I think it would've been a unanimous decision."
Barker is expected to face mandatory challenger Felix Sturm in his next fight and promoter Eddie Hearn has ambitious plans for the Londoner if he wins his first defence.
British rivals Martin Murray and Matthew Macklin could be future foes for Barker, while Hearn is also interested in unification fights against other champions such as Peter Quillin and Gennady Golovkin.
"Felix Sturm is the mandatory I believe and Darren has to have his mandatory challenge for the next fight, so that will be next," Hearn told Sky Sports News.
"Potentially after that, maybe even bring Geale over for the rematch. People talk about the Macklin fight, the Murray fight, big British fights. Obviously unification fights, Quillin, Golovkin, probably the toughest of all, there are so many options in the division."
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