The BUI Celtic welterweight champion is the only puncher common to both opponents in the opening fight on tonight’s Sky PPV card having fought both Anthony Fowler and Craig O’Brien – and, as a result, may be best versed to predict an outcome.
Byrne, who was stopped in the fourth by Fowler and outpointed over 10 by Irish champion O’Brien, points out the fighters take a different approach to the game with the English fighter intent on aggression and Dublin’s O’Brien a skills operator.
The mutual foe believes O’Brien’s style and Fowler’s lack of respect for defence gives ‘The Iron’ a chance but claims, if both produce their best, the Matchroom fighter has a better chance of winning.
“Both are very different fighters,” Byrne explained to Irish-Boxing.com
“Craig boxes on the back foot whereas Anthony is a Trojan and doesn’t take a step back but has an excellent amateur pedigree.”
“I do feel Anthony leaves himself open to be hit at times, but it’s committing to actually steping in to have a go is the issue. It’s a lot easier said than done.”
“Just like [Carl] Froch he doesn’t mind taking a shot to land one,” Byrne who used Sky connections to help make the fight added.
“Obviously I have spoke to Craig in the making of this fight and he knows he has got to be very smart and on his boxing. He will have to hit and move and be sharp on his feet just like he was in our fight but obviously I’m not near Anthony’s level.”
“I’m an honest fella and I feel if Fowler is on it and Craig is on it then Anthony should have enough to get the job done but it’s boxing and anything can happen.”
Byrne has tried what O’Brien will attempt tonight having faced three Matchroom prospects in the hopes of causing an upset and changing his career.
Having lost but gained respect on all three occasion before bouncing back to win a domestic title Byrne is adamant O’Brien has nothing to lose and everything to gain from the TV fight.
“Craig has absolutely nothing too lose. He’s top of the tree in Ireland so what’s his options if he ain’t willing to take a chance and test himself where does he end up?”
“Remember, he asked me to try get him this exact fight – he named Anthony as an opponent he would love to face and that shows a man that wants to take the step to next level so this is what he has got.
“If he was to lose what does that do ?” Byrne continued before answering his own question.
“Absolutely nothing as he is raising his stock with a loss and winning would put him on biggest stage in world now possibly with Matchroom.”
“Being honest my experience was totally different as I went from 66kg to 73.5kg in four weeks to take a chance against a monster.”
“Craig is getting a chance at his natural fighting weight and he also has an amateur background in which he is well schooled so I think the occasion shouldn’t get to him and I wish both men the best of luck and both come out of it in healthy condition.”