We mistakenly reported that Crumlin welterweight Dean Byrne was to return from retirement and fight Cork’s Noely Murphy in the headline fight of the Red Corner Promotions ‘Champions Elect’ card at the National Stadium on Saturday October 7th. He would be replacing initial opponent Stephen Carroll, who was forced to withdraw from the bout on medical grounds last month
Our information had been gathered over the previous two days from numerous well placed sources – including Dean Byrne himself. However, both Red Corner Promotions and Murphy’s manager Kevin Crowley got in contact.
Crowley especially would stress that such a fight was not on the cards at all, with Murphy in talks with a number of other opponents.
This did not square well with the assuredness in Dublin boxing circles that the fight was made, and the absolute certainty of London-based Dean Byrne – who had even gone to Turkey for a three-week camp with Phil Sutcliffe Sr.
As it turns out, Byrne is not happy with Red Corner Promotions, and explained his side of the story to Irish-Boxing.com recently.
‘Irish Lightning’ noted that “with my experience, I know these kinds of things happen.”
“I was hoping to fight on the 7th of October, but that’s not going to happen now, unfortunately, which pisses me off.”
Outlining the sequence of events on his end, Byrne described how “I was basically told by [Red Corner’s] Andy Jennings ‘don’t tell anyone now, but I’m going to send you over contracts,’ pretty much.”
“I was under the impression that it was going to happen so I got myself home. We had an agreement over the phone on how much they were going to give me for the fight.”
“He would pay my costs going back to England, but I would make my way home because I needed to sort out my BUI licence and get my medicals done. I did all that.”
“I’ve been home, and I’ve been back and forth asking him for the contract, and he was telling me he’d e-mail me the contract and do this and do that.”
“Then lo and behold, a few days ago, he said the fight’s not happening.”
Looking back on the breakdown now, Byrne has realised that “to be honest with you, I don’t think it was ever happening with you in the first place.”
“Personally I think Noely’s team wouldn’t have wanted that fight because Andy seemed certain that he could speak on behalf of the kid and his team and make a deal.”
“I was excited about this comeback fight, it was a perfect comeback fight for me, no offence to Noel Murphy. A ten-round fight, with an unbeaten kid, scalp an Irish title, and make a bit of a statement to say ‘right, I’m back.'”
“Good luck to him and his team. It’s nothing personal, the kid’s probably never even heard of me!”
Murphy wasn’t the only fight proposed to Byrne, who also revealed the most preliminary of talks with Red Corner for an all-Dublin battle.
“After doing a ‘deal’ already and then saying that’s not happening, they then tried to get me to fight Craig O’Brien at a higher weight than normal and for less money,” said Byrne.
“I didn’t want to fight at light middleweight in my first fight back after being out. I was preparing for a southpaw at welterweight, it made no sense to be having a dust-up with Craig O’Brien.
“In fairness, I’ll fight anybody, you just need to have a look at my record – but it doesn’t make any sense. There’s no point in me fighting Craig O’Brien in the National Stadium, with no TV, for no money, to give the fans that can only say they were there a good dust-up and that’s it.”
The bridges are burnt for Byrne who, when describing Red Corner, stated that “they’re very unprofessional in what they do, how they dealt with everything, I couldn’t see myself working with them in the future.”
“They basically put me in a situation where I’m in financial difficulty. I’m not in financial difficulty, but more in that I thought I had a fight lined up. ”
“They were just wasting my time, because I’ve got sponsors for this, I’ve come home. I’ve wasted time more so than money – because you can’t get the time back. Hopefully they can jump on board next time I’m fighting and sponsor me, but this time it’s not happening.”
“I just want to let my fans and sponsors know it wasn’t my fault, and there was nothing I could do, I’m a fighting man, I just want to fight.”
“I don’t know how well they [Red Corner] are doing, and good luck to them, but if they keep doing stuff like what they’re after doing to me, I don’t think they’ll last very long. Boxing’s a very small community, and boxers don’t like to be messed about.”
“You can’t really do that to people, especially fighters that have been out of the ring for so long and have families to think about.”
33 years old last week, the episode has left a sour taste in the mouth of Byrne. However, he remains undeterred and has vowed to fight again.
Looking ahead, Byrne detailed how “I spoke to Leonard Gunning [Boxing Ireland Promotions], he’s having another show in November or December, Celtic Clash, so possibly that could be one for my return.”
“I’m definitely going to be getting back in the ring, I’m definitely going to be making a comeback, I’m definitely going to be making a return.”
“I’ve put the work in, and I’m looking forward to my return.”