Welterweight Chris Kongo is determined to use his victory over Florian Marku as a springboard to greater success.

Kongo impressively outpointed the previously unbeaten Marku in a high-profile grudge match at the O2 Arena on Sunday. A 31-year-old Londoner, Kongo credits his accomplishments thus far to hard work and a refusal to give up hope.

Although a talented fighter, Kongo has struggled to fulfill his clear potential. Yet when the stakes were at their highest, he finally put together a complete performance.

Kongo lived up to his nickname – ”2 Slick” – in outboxing Marku over the first half of the fight. And once he had drawn his opponent’s sting, he began to stand his ground and punish Marku more and more as the rounds progressed. After 10 rounds, Kongo (15-2, 7 KOs) was a clear winner, awarded a deserved unanimous decision.

“I wanted to feel out the first couple of rounds,” said a delighted Kongo after the fight. “I felt his power and I said, ‘Yeah, this ain't stopping me. No way. He’s not stopping me.’ In my head, I was just saying, ‘Stay disciplined, keep working. Stay disciplined, keep working,’ and it paid off.”

It has been over a year since Kongo came up short in a challenge for Ekow Essuman’s British and Commonwealth 147-pound titles. Although the fight was a close, nip-and-tuck affair, the majority decision defeat pushed him far down the welterweight pecking order. It would have been easy for Kongo to lose hope and motivation, but he re-dedicated himself to the sport and waited for an opportunity to present itself.

The seeds of the comeback really took root last summer when he and Marku clashed at a press conference. From that point on, the two were destined to end up in the ring.

Kongo turned up for a make-or-break fight week in the best physical and mental condition of his career. He brushed off Marku’s intimidation tactics and, aware that a defeat would likely spell the end of his career at title level, carried that discipline into the ring with him.

“I came here, we prayed and I believed,” Kongo said. “I trusted in the work. I trusted in Barry Smith. I trusted in Lee Wylie, and I trusted in Ben Davison. All you’ve got to do is trust.

“Last year I took an ‘L,’ but that didn't stop me from sticking in the gym and keeping working and working and working. I always knew that one day it would pay off. And I promise myself, now I’ve won this, I'm going straight back in the gym and I'm getting back to work. Nobody is going to stop me. I'm going to keep staying disciplined inside of the ring, in training and outside.”