Dubliner Bernard Dunne ended his eight-month absence from the ring tonight as he claimed a points victory over Felix Machado at the Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar, Mayo.
Dunne, fighting for the first time since his shock first round defeat to Kiko Martinez, got the better of the wily Machado over ten rounds, winning 100-90 by way of referee Emile Tiedt's verdict.
Both fighters showed signs of ring rustiness with former IBF super-flyweight champion Machado having his first outing since last July, when he lost a Venezuelan title bout.
Dunne started brightly, connecting with some solid shots and his tactic of moving to his left to keep away from Machado's left leads paid off.
The seasoned southpaw tested Dunne's temperament with a couple of low blows and while he did look leaden-footed at times, he managed to cut Dunne over his right eye in the fifth round.
Dunne forced his punches a little too much as he tried to connect with Machado's head, and the Neilstown man did admit afterwards that his timing was off, particularly in the latter rounds.
After that entertaining fifth round, the pace slackened as both fighters seemed content to accept a points decision, although Dunne clearly remained the aggressor.
He landed a couple of right hooks and combinations off his left to keep the pressure on Machado in the closing rounds and in the end, it was an encouraging return for the 28-year-old super bantamweight.
After chalking up his 25th professional win, Dunne, who was cut near his nose and right eye, said: "We expected Felix to come out and test me and he did. I'm a bit disappointed, I threw a good right to the body in the second round but wasn't able to follow up on it.
Overall, I though I did well enough. He's a seasoned campaigner. I'd like to thank him very much for coming over and giving me the chance to fight him."
Asked about getting back into the ring long after the Martinez defeat, he added: "I'll be honest, I was anxious about coming back in. Also, although this is my home soil, fighting in Mayo was new to me too but the crowd gave me great support.
"I didn't box great, I should have been quicker, my hands weren't great but to win the fight without boxing well tells you all you need to know."
Dunne is eager to get back challenging for the European title he lost to Martinez.
"I need to get back in the ring again as soon as possible. Brian (Peters), my promoter, said he's going to keep me busy this year."
Commenting on his charge's comeback win, Dunne's trainer Harry Hawkins said: "I was delighted with him. He was a little bit rusty the first few rounds. You could see after round two, he was beginning to get the measure of him.
"The fact that he gave him ten rounds will really stood to him."
Although cagey about what Dunne's next move would be, Brian Peters insisted that "we've a few very good options open to us now."