Jamie McDonnell admitted he did not feel at his best in his successful world title defence.
The Doncaster fighter retained his WBA bantamweight title after opponent Javier Chacon withdrew early in the tenth round with an apparent dislocated shoulder.
But it was an off-colour performance from McDonnell who struggled to take control against the tough Argentine.
And the 28-year-old confessed he could sense he was having a troubled fight.
“I felt a couple of times that I needed to change it up and things didn’t really feel like they were working,” McDonnell said.
“It was getting tough in there. He was physically strong, a real tough man.
“I wanted to go and work on him but that wasn’t the game plan.
“You have to wear kids like that down and I do think I was doing that.
“I feel like the tenth was when I was going to be stepping it up, for the last three rounds.
“My trainer and my brother said I looked pretty good and I’m being a bit hard on myself but it didn’t really flow for me.
“Getting the win was the most important thing, no matter how it came.
“I expected a better performance. I wanted to make a statement but I’m pleased to have got through it.”
Beating Chacon was McDonnell’s last hurdle ahead of a world title unification bout in Las Vegas next year.
McDonnell is set to meet current WBO king Tomoki Kameda in March or April.
He said: “I’ve got plenty of preparation time for that one.
“I’ll be away for Christmas and New Year but when I get back I’ll be training like a machine for this fight.
“I want to clean up in the division and complete the collection of belts before thinking about moving up.”