Ballarat boxing standout Jack Denahy has suffered a loss in his first taste of international competition.
But the lesson may be just what he needs as he gears up for the world championships.
Denahy fought former Asian Games gold medallist Ian Bautista at the World Class Thailand Open International Boxing Tournament.
The 20-year-old almost went the distance with Bautista, out-boxing him for much of the fight before things took a turn for the worse in the third and final round.
"I got a little lazy and brought my jab hand down and he caught me with an overhand right," Denahy told The Courier.
"It dropped me and I got up, but the ref said I couldn't continue."
WATCH FIGHT: DENAHY SQUARES OFF AGAINST IAN BAUTISTA AT WORLD THAILAND OPEN
It was the first fight representing the green and gold for Denahy who joined a handful of other top Australian fighters for the tournament in July.
He said the honour of fighting for his country was everything he envisioned it to be.
"It proves that I'm definitely there with the best of them, it's just the one per-centers that makes the difference," he said.
Despite the loss the experience proved a real eye-opener for the young fighter who also took part in a 10-day training camp prior to the tournament.
The camp consisted of running, sparring and a lot of pad work. He said slacking off wasn't an option in an environment which featured the best of the best.
"One thing I did take from the tournament is that the competitors were all very much developed and explosive," he said.
"A lot of the fighters do strength and conditioning work with weights, which is something I want to incorporate into my training because it's something I've never really done," he said.
Denahy made headlines earlier this year when he won the national 57-kilogram boxing championship for the second straight year.
The accomplishment qualified Denahy for the world championships held in Russia next month.
Denahy has since returned to Ballarat where he is preparing to head off to the Australian Institute of Sport for another training camp.
The featherweight boxer said his first taste of international competition was something he would never forget.
"It was awesome being able to mix it up with all different styles to confirm that's the level I'm at," he said.
"I only want to keep getting better so I can beat those guys."