This day next week Jay Byrne [4(1)-1(0)] will box again on a big Sky Sports show, and the Dublin welterweight will be welcomed back with open arms.
‘The Negotiator’ won plaudits for his showing on the inaugural NXTGEN show at the York Hall, bringing middleweight starlet Felix Cash the full six rounds.
So impressed were the powers that be, Byrne was quickly invited back to face another top prospect, Rio Olympian Josh Kelly.
The Sunderland boxer debuts over six against Byrne in Glasgow on the Ricky Burns v Julius Indongo WBA-IBF light welterweight unification at the SSE Hydro.
While the Cash bout was a risk for Byrne, he believes that the Kelly fight and the reaction he received last month show that it was a risk worth taking.
The Loughlinstown fighter told Irish-Boxing.com that “to be met by Eddie Hearn getting out of the ring saying really good words to me and saying he wants me back at my own weight and he has lots of fights for me, proved the gamble paid off.”
It wasn’t just the Matchroom boss who was impressed, and Byrne described how “James DeGale said that I’m a warrior, that he spars cash and he can bang and I’m only a welterweight and stood with him no problem.”
“Dillian Whyte said I was one crazy motherfucker and that he loved me calling him [Cash] on after taking all he could.”
“This is the respect I wanted.”
Looking back at the Cash clash, Byrne recalled how “I know I’m tough and know I can have a go and that’s why I took the fight.”
“It was a massive chance and also a dream come true considering I watch Matchroom shows every week on TV – after all I’m the man who only took up boxing a few years ago so, this was a moment I never thought would happen.”
The 30 year old admits that it was a daunting task, and said “I won’t lie, when I saw him at the weigh in, I thought ‘Wow, the height and size of this lad’ – and I came in four pounds lighter.”
“But look, I said I’d make sure I wont get disgraced and make life hard for him, and under no circumstances get stopped on television with my kids and wife watching. I would of classed myself as a failure.”
“After two rounds I knew I had taken his best and then it was a matter of trying to let my shots go and earn respect.”