Jamie McDonnell admitted he must alter his mindset after a somewhat laboured victory over Abigail Medina.
In a candid appraisal of his performance, the Hatfield bantamweight acknowledged that he underestimated Barcelona-based Medina.
And he confessed he is struggling with the lack of major incentives in his recent bouts.
“It’s hit home that if I want to be world champion again I’ve got to step it up,” McDonnell told the Free Press.
“These fights are different, there’s nothing at stake where there normally is.
“It’s hard to get your motivation, it’s a different way of thinking.
“I feel like I’m a world champion and these kids haven’t done anything, they’re nobodies and I’m going to walk it.
“But it isn’t like that.
“This is why I need the big fights because I’m used to thinking in a different way.
“I’m used to going in there with something at stake.
“There’s pressure there as well because people expect me to blast these kids out.
“These are world title fights for these kids and he came to fight.
“He was better than his record suggested, he came to win and he was dangerous.”
The impressive Medina helped deliver a reality check that could have come at the right time for McDonnell as he plots a route back to world title glory.
Though never in any real danger of defeat against the tough Dominican Republic-born fighter, there was enough of a warning shot fired for him to take heed.
It started well enough for McDonnell who boxed the first round cautiously at range from behind his jab.
In the second he stepped up the pressure, working off the jab as he moved in closer with a hefty right hook rattling Medina and the trademark body shots beginning to flow.
But Medina was not to be bullied into submissiveness and roared back in the third.
He began to force the issue rather than working on the counter and he exposed gaps in McDonnell’s defence.
McDonnell probably boxed his smartest round in the fourth, covering up well to ensure Medina connected merely with gloves.
He moved closer as well, denying Medina space to operate and closed the round with an excellent sequence of shots culminating in a stinging left to the body.
But his flow disappeared again in the fifth and he was caught with a swinging left.
Medina’s power was on show in the six as he slammed in a body shot straight down the middle but a low blow in the follow up gave McDonnell time to recover.
Credit to McDonnell, he stopped Medina’s ascendency over the last two rounds, showcasing good footwork and good counter punching.
Referee Richie Davies gave McDonnell the bout 78-75 on points, which could have been slightly closer.
In regards to the fight itself, McDonnell was pleased.
“I did feel in control,” he said. “I had to adapt but I boxed a bit, used my feet and I was happy overall.”
The 27-year-old is set to be back in action in February.