GAVIN Gwynne will have to box “10 times” better in his final eliminator for the British lightweight title later this year than he did against Nicaraguan Arnoldo Solano last weekend.

That was the 29-year-old Welshman’s forthright response to a scrappy and incident-packed points victory in Merthyr Tydfil on Saturday.

Headlining the Sanigar Events promotion at the valleys town’s leisure centre, the reigning Welsh champion was eager to put on an eye-catching performance after eight months of inactivity.

A dislocated knee and subsequent cancellation of March’s Celtic lightweight title clash with Darren Traynor fuelled Gwynne’s desire for a proper dust-up with Solano.

However, his opponent wasn’t exactly in the mood and Gwynne, trained by Tony Borg at St Joseph’s in Newport, let his frustration show.

The advice from his corner to keep calm and box clever went largely unheeded as Solano’s spoiling tactics riled Gwynne throughout the encounter.

He maintained his unbeaten record (11-0) thanks to referee Reece Carter’s 78-71 scoring of the eight- rounder, but the margin of victory could have been greater.

As well as flooring Solano twice, Gwynne had two points deducted, the first when he tried to push the sprawling Nicaraguan away with his foot, and the second for punching after the call of break.

The eliminator with Irishman James Tennyson, which has been put out for purse bids by the British Boxing Board of Control, will be a different kettle of fish altogether for Gwynne.

He knows the former world title challenger, who stopped Solano inside 60 seconds last February, is going to be a much tougher test for him than the one he faced in Merthyr.

He said: “It was a good learning fight, it’s eight rounds in the bank, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“I know it was a warm-up fight, but I just wanted to get out of there and move on to bigger and better things like the final eliminator with James Tennyson.

“I’ve got to perform 10 times better than I did on Saturday if I want to beat Tennyson, but I think with a better opponent you perform better.

“There was a lot of frustration against Solano. He just came to survive really.

“I hit him with a couple of good shots in the first round and could feel him wanting to run then.

“I was catching him with good body shots and had him down a couple of times.

“For one of them he was saying to the referee I’d pushed him, and he was smart in that way.

“He was sticking his head in, holding on, and he didn’t want to know, so all of that made it hard for me in there.”

On the incident that led to the first point being deducted, he added: “He grabbed hold of my leg and it was just one of those things that happened in the spur of the moment.

“It was a reaction more than anything. I didn’t think it was going to be anything more than a point off because he grabbed my leg.

“But I shouldn’t have done it and Chris (Sanigar, manager) gave me a rollicking.”