LUKE Watkins wants to use his Irish cruiserweight championship triumph as the springboard for more success after the Swindon fighter claimed the first title of his career on Saturday night.

Watkins – who is nicknamed ‘the Duke’ – earned a brutal knockout victory over veteran Ian Tims in Belfast, sending the 37-year-old former champion crashing to the canvas in the fourth round.

Former New College student Watkins, whose mother Caroline hails from Wexford, spoke of his huge pride at securing the title on Irish soil and has now set his sights on moving onto further glory, although the 27-year-old is unsure over what will come next at this stage.

“It meant a lot to me. I am very honoured and feel very proud to have gone over there and done what I did,” said Watkins, who is trained by Paddy Fitzpatrick at the Irishman’s Ferndale Road gym.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and I took that opportunity with both hands. I made sure I was fully prepared for it.

“This is a stepping stone. Maybe I will defend the Irish title or maybe fight for the Commonwealth title. I don’t know right now, I will leave it for Paddy to deal with – it’s his job, not mine.

“If people want to take notice of me, they can take notice. I am just going to continue being me and do what I am doing.

“I am just going to be determined. I am not 100 per cent sure on what comes next, we’re only one day after the fight.

“It would be very premature to say anything. I am still on a high and coming down from a high. We will just wait and see what the answer is with what comes next.”

Watkins was in excellent form as he extended his unbeaten record to an 11th straight win at the SSE Arena, finishing the bout with a solid right straight hand that went through Tims’ guard, sending the Dubliner down.

Stopping the contest so early had not been part of Watkins’ pre-fight plan, with the Swindon man having been in shape to go the full 10-round distance if that was what had been required.

“I was happy with it. I took some silly shots and I was a bit silly in the second round but I am happy with the result,” said Watkins.

“I gave him my full respect and was prepared to go the full 10 rounds. I didn’t want to take anything for granted or leave any stone unturned. Sometimes you find it early and sometimes you find it late and this time we found it early.

“We had a gameplan to try to break him down. We thought we’d break him down a bit later on in the fight but I just found it sooner rather than later.”