A “handy enough” Irish title win over Jay Byrne would not surprise Craig O’Brien


Fight fans are billing it as it a 50-50 clash, results on paper arguably suggest the same, but Craig O’Brien [7(0)-0] claims he won’t be surprised if he makes a liar of both on Saturday March 3rd.

The chief support bout on the Ireland’s Last Man Standing card at the National Stadium, O’Brien goes into his intriguing and anticipated Irish light middleweight title fight with Jay Byrne [6(2)-3(1)] aware that it’s seen as a pick’em encounter.

In fact, not only does the BUI Celtic title holder see why people come to such a conclusion, he all but points out why fans and pundits should see the TG4 broadcast clash as such.

However, in saying that, he remains adamant he will emerge victorious and claims there is every possibility he could win easy.

“They way I look at it both myself and Jay have done eight rounders, neither have done a 10. So he is where I am at really. Jay probably has more experience in fighting some of the bigger boys on big shows, but I probably have that bit of amateur pedigree so it’s an interesting fight,” O’Brien told Irish-Boxing.com.

“Listen people see it as a 50-50 and I can see why. The bottom line is, I train for the hardest fight possible. I am training three times a day and if comes to be a toe to toe battle that’s close I am well able for it, but if I can outbox him I will,” he added before indicating his tendency to overhype opponents may mean he is making what could be a comfortable win sound more difficult than it is.

“I know on paper it’s 50-50, but personally I tend to beat myself up before fights. I think too much…. ‘what if this happens?’ or ‘what if that happens?’, but once the bell goes it seems to be natural for me.”

“I have done that before and then in the ring I am comfortable and I can win handy enough. If that happens I wouldn’t be surprised.”

‘The Iron’ O’Brien has certainly shown glimpses of pure and natural talent in his reinvigorated career, but BUI welterweight Celtic champion, Byrne is the best opponent he has faced to date.

The inner-city Dub seems aware of that fact, and has educated himself on what to expect from a driven fighter who isn’t afraid to take career risks and comes into the clash on the back of a confidence-boosting knockout win over Gerrard Whitehouse.

“Look it’s a great fight. It’s a great fight for Irish boxing, a good fight for Dublin, a good fight for myself and Jay,, and a good fight for TV.

“I know he will be super fit, confident and as game as they come on the night. I know he will be up for it and I respect him, but there is only going to be one winner. I am more than confident I will pick up the belt at the end of the night.”

The Celtic Warriors boxer is also acutely aware that it’s a fight his opponent on the Last Man Standing show fancies.

Byrne all but talked the fight into existence and O’Brien points out how, like numerous recent domestic clashes, this has blossomed into an eagerly anticipated fight after the seeds were planted on Irish-Boxing.com.

“He put it out there. Jay is clever enough. The fight is made now.”

“Irish-boxing.com actually are the reason this fight is happening. You had an interview with Jay and he said he would love a shot at the Irish title at light middleweight and with that Red Corner contacted me about the fight. They said ‘did you see the thing on Irish-Boxing.com with Jay?’ and I looked it up then.”

“They asked would I fight him I said absolutely and that’s how it came about. They brought it up with the BUI and it was sanctioned.”

Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie