Dublin prospect Jay Byrne [2(1)-0] was days away from a big Conor Benn fight.
The Loughlinstown welter has revealed that he had agreed terms to fight the Matchroom prospect and son of British fight legend and former Steve Collins foe Nigel Benn, only to see the fight fall through with five days to go.
Benn has been earmarked as one to watch by Sky Sports and Matchroom and, although he has yet to establish himself, he has certainly been hyped across the water. The undefeated 20 year old would have given Byrne the chance to win massive exposure, especially considering the clash was set to play out on the massive Anthony Joshua v Eric Molina fight card in Manchester on December 10th.
Weighing up the latter, and feeling he could defeat Benn, Byrne took just “three seconds” to agree to the fight at a mere 10 days notice.
However, after cutting weight, Byrne found out that Matchroom had drafted in a different opponent for the young prospect. Benn was first meant to face Josh Thorne – who had held Nathaniel Wilson, son of Chris Eubank, to a draw – then Steven Backhouse was eventually drafted in and subsequently stopped just over a minute into the opening round.
Byrne was left understandably frustrated following the ordeal, and told Irish-Boxing.com how “we got a call asking would I take on Conor Benn on the Anthony Joshua v Molina card in the MEN Arena.”
“We just had 10 days notice, but I needed about three seconds to accept. I was just 8kg over the weight, but I knew it wouldn’t be a problem as once I agree to something its a done deal.”
“I began stripping the weight and was only 3kg off the 66.5kg limit with five days to go. Then I find out they went with another opponent with a lesser record.”
“I was gutted to say the least but it has made me feel a lot more focused and determined,” the self-managed fighter, who now has Belfast and Dublin fight dates lined up for February, concluded.