GAVIN Gwynne believes his performance in defeat to Joe Cordina proves he deserves to stay in the company of Britain’s best lightweights – and he wants the Lonsdale Belt before the year is out.

Cordina retained his British and Commonwealth titles on Saturday night thanks to a unanimous points victory over former St Joseph’s stablemate Gwynne at the O2 in London.

Cardiff’s Rio Olympian (10-0) was given a real test by previously unbeaten Gwynne (11-1), who thought the bout was closer than the judges' scorecards (116-110, 116-111, 116-110) suggest.

Tears flowed after Gwynne climbed out of the ring, but he has vowed to make a rapid return to the gym in a bid to finally fulfil his dream of a British strap.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” he said. “I came into the changing room afterwards and I was crying, that’s the first time I’ve lost in four or five years.

“It’s gut-wrenching. As soon as I stepped out of the ring I was bawling. I had to shoot back to the changing room because I didn’t want anyone see me crying. It’s not a nice feeling.

“The last time I lost in a final, I can’t remember where it was, I was the same, bawling in the changing room.

“It’s just one of those things. You work so hard, and it was one of my dreams to win a British title.

“I still definitely think winning it is possible, and maybe in one or two fights I can box for it again.

“Maybe Joe will move on and box for the European and I can then fight for vacant British title.

“I’m going to try and win the British before the end of the year, that’s my goal. I want that title.

“I’m going to give myself a week off and then go back to the gym, I don’t want to waste any time.”

He added: “I’ve only had 11 fights and I was fighting for a British title. That’s very rare these days. You see boys with 15 or 20 fights going for British titles.

“Hopefully I’ll be put in line for the British next or maybe the one after that.

“I know I belong at this level, and this is where I want to remain, I want to stay on the big stage.

“I’ve proven myself now. I think I deserve to be in the top 10 in the division.”

Not since 1994, when Swansea’s Floyd Havard stopped Llanelli’s Neil Haddock, had two Welsh fighters fought each other for a British title.

In the Vasyl Lomachenko-Luke Campbell card, Gwynne and Cordina couldn’t have asked for a better stage in the UK to go toe-to-toe with each other.

“I don’ think he underestimated me,” said Tony Borg-trained Gwynne. “It’s just a lot of boxers think I’m not going to wear them and be strong enough.

“I established my jab pretty well in the first round, but he was quick on his feet, stepping in and throwing a counter and catching me.

“It didn’t hurt me, they were just the eye-catching shots, so that won him the first couple of rounds.

“I thought I was edging the middle rounds and had a good finish as well.

“I could have started a bit better. Tony was telling me, and I only noticed in the later rounds, that I was landing the right hand, but I wasn’t throwing it very often.

“And I hurt him. I nearly had him out of there, I think it was in the eighth round, when I wobbled him with an upper cut.

“I did notice it, but I tried looking for the head instead of coming down to the body.

“I was boxing behind the jab a couple of times during the rounds and he couldn’t get near me.

“I’d fall back into going forward and getting caught, so that’s one thing we can work on in the gym.

“That’s the first time he’s really been tested. He can probably say that was his hardest fight because I took him into the trenches. That was one of my best performances.”

Meanwhile, it was announced on Saturday night that St Joseph’s star and former IBF featherweight kingch Lee Selby will face Scotland’s ex-world champion Ricky Burns at London’s O2 on Saturday, October 26.