Daniel “Chucky” Barrera faced the toughest challenge of his career in his first eight-round fight, overcoming Christian Robles in a close unanimous decision win Friday at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California.

The 22-year-old Barrera (7-0-1, 4 KOs) emerged victorious, earning scores of 77-75 (twice) and 79-73, but acknowledged the taxing nature of the match. Robles (8-3, 3 KOs), 27, demonstrated his intent to win from the outset of a fiercely contested eight-round battle.

“I knew this guy Christian was going to be tough,” said Barrera, who sparred with Robles earlier this year. “Tougher than I expected.”

Barrera attributed his slow start to the unfamiliarity of an eight-round bout and a cut sustained in the fifth round, which bled throughout the fight. Robles’ rugged style posed significant challenges for Barrera, a counterpuncher who prefers maintaining distance and a reserved counterpunching approach.

“I got head-butted most of the time,” Barrera said with a chuckle. “But it is boxing. It happens. He was very rugged, very awkward as well. When you think he is going to do this, he does something else. So it was hard to pick up on his timing.

“Like I said, I have things to work on. Instead of one shot, I need to answer with three or four shots.”

Barrera hinted at a potential return in August, with BoxRec listing a 360 Promotions card for Aug. 31 at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California. That event could feature Barrera’s next fight, given that he is cleared after being cut in Friday’s bout. He has already fought three times this year, including twice at Chumash.

Reflecting on his performance, Barrera stated his intention to remain at the eight-round duration for the foreseeable future.

“I already felt the mistakes in there,” Barrera said. “I talked with my team in the back room [after the fight] and we know what we have to work on.”