Yes, the Balbriggan welterweight turned pro very young, aged just 19, but the European Schoolboys bronze medalist has enjoyed the staple diet of journeymen for his first three years as a pro.
Whitehouse has amassed a spotless record in his seven fights. In half the time, Byrne has fought eight times – and the Loughlinstown man has gone on the road, being defeated by top English prospects on Sky Sports-televised Matchroom shows.
Two different paths, the pair meet this Saturday in the Celtic Clash 4 co-main at the National Stadium in Dublin where they will face off over eight rounds for the vacant BUI Celtic welterweight title.
For Whitehouse, he admitted to Irish-Boxing.com that “it’s a long time coming.”
“The fight itself, it didn’t look likely for a while, it was on, it was off – so I’m just delighted the fight’s been made. Everything’s all gone well, I’m just buzzing to get in there. I’m really, really looking forward to it.”
“My last big fight was probably away with the Irish team when I boxed the Dutch senior champion and I was beat on a split decision over there, a bit of a controversial loss.”
The Bracken boxer doesn’t feel that Byrne [5(1)-3(1)] is on his level, and it’s the first thing he notes when discussing the fight.
Whitehouse outlined how “Jay’s a good fella, we all know he’s tough and he’s game, but we have to be realistic – he’s only known for his losses.”
“Even as an amateur, I don’t think he beat anyone of any note or any class. I don’t think he’s beat anybody or any champion, he hasn’t won anything.”
“That’s not being disrespectful, it’s just the truth.”
Size, activity, and experience have all been put forward as potential advantages for Byrne, but Whitehouse believes this has been overplayed.
The Fingal fighter described how “Jay said the size difference was going to be a factor, I think there was an inch or two in it when we went head to head, size isn’t going to be a problem, there’s nothing in the size difference. I wouldn’t be looking anything into that.
“I know Jay’s been active, but he’s been on the receiving end of a few contests.”
The other apparent feather in the cap of ‘The Negotiator’ is his budding relationship with new trainer Declan Geraghty Senior.
Byrne is said to be developing a more technical style with the father of the southpaw stylist, and claims he gave the best performance of his career in an exhibition with British title challenger John Thain last month in Scotland.
Whitehouse though feels that their title fight has come too soon after the change, which was implemented during the Summer.
The 22 year old poses how “I don’t think he’s had enough time to gel. In his last fight, Anthony Fowler, I saw that they were very frustrated with him in the corner.”
“His coach was frustrated he wasn’t doing what he wanted him to do.”
“It’s going to be a good night for me. I’m confident with what I’ve got to do with Jay.”
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography