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CZECH MATE – Jay Byrne plans to use Journeyman to make Robbie Burke point

Jiri Kroupa [5(4)-9(3)-1] has inadvertently walked into the middle of a Jay Bryne [9(2)-8(2) and Robbie Burke [3(2)-1(0)-1] grudge.

The little-known journeyman takes an away corner post on Ring King’s show in Waterford on Saturday but isn’t in for a routine away day.

The returning Byrne plans to use Kroupa to make a point, stick two fingers up at his fellow Dub Burke and to set up a derby clash with the popular Kilmore native.

Indeed, ‘The Negotiator’ sought a fight with the game Czech Republic fighter with the Crumlin graduate in mind.

Not only did Kroupa manage to draw with Burke in Dublin last year, something which gives Byrne the chance to make a favourable comparison at the SETU Arena, he also prompted a back-and-forth between the pair that got personal.

Byrne since he admitted he was wrong express an opinion on the direction Burke’s career was going but remains upset Burke didn’t respond in kind.

The former Bray Wanderers ‘baller says it’s now personal as a result, and thus poor Kroupa walks into the firing line.

“Last week I set about searching for an opponent and thought of Jiri Kroupa, as he drew with Robbie Burke in Dublin last year,” Byrne told Irish-boxing.com.

“Myself and Robbie had a few words in around that time, he wasn’t happy with a comment I made on him taking the fight or his career. Look, he was right it was nothing to do with me, but he said a couple of personal things he shouldn’t have, so that didn’t impress me at all.

“I apologised for the comment I made and he didn’t for his, so I’ve taken it personal,” he explains.

A fired-up Byrne now plans do outdo Burke’s performance against a journeyman that will have a real go if he senses a possible upset may be on the cards.

If he does manage to win his first fight since late 2019 he will then look to settle the grudge in a more direct manner, in the ring.

“At the time I was four stone overweight and told him I’d see him this year. He said I’d be sorry if we fought. Well, here I am fit and ready! I’ll do what he couldn’t to Kroupa and if he’s man enough to stand by his words I’m ready for 8 rounds straight away.

“I’ll do his weight so no excuses for him to refuse,” he continues “I don’t dislike Robbie at all and I mean that. I spoke outa’ turn and apologised for that, however, I didn’t get personal and throw stones. I’m full respect for him on a boxing front and if it happens it happens but if it doesn’t it won’t be down to me.”

Burke’s is the fourth name Byrne has mentioned since confirming his comeback, with the winner of Craig McCarthy and Graham McCormack’s BUI super middleweight title fight on his hit list alongside BBBofC Celtic champ Ben McGivern.

It’s typically clever of the fight manager, creating massive narrative around a comeback fight, and it appears he is enjoying a return to the business side of the game as much as he is the fight game.

“By God it’s good to be back,” he smiles.

Byrne was initially eying up a clash with survival specialist Seamus Devlin, a fighter who will now fight Cathal Crowley, to end his sabbatical.

However, such was his preparation and pre-fight sparring that he sought a tougher challenge, one he feels will test him, and a fight the old dog can test new tricks Pete Taylor thought him.

I’m buzzing ahead of Saturday. In the fight I expect to show the improvements Pete has thought me, I don’t wanna be the warrior anymore, I feel I am capable of showing I can box and move and take as little punishment as possible.

I would also like to say thanks to all my sponsors again for making this comeback possible:

Centra Johnstown & Ballybrack
HJ Byrne Bray
Nxtgen Performance
Metway in Brighton


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years