‘The Negotiator’ attempted to become the first ever BUI Celtic two-weight champion in Scotland on Saturday night, but was outpointed by Dundee’s Paul Kean in a vacant light middleweight title fight, dropping a 79-74 decision.
It was the 31-year-old’s fifth career defeat – although it has to be noted all his reverses came against undefeated highly regarded fighters – and it could prove a reverse too much for a fighter whose willingness to take chances has arguably changed the landscape of Irish domestic fighting.
Having claimed the BUI Celtic welterweight crown with a stunning victory over Gerard Whitehouse the former pro footballer claimed it was enough to call it a day but a desire to win an Irish title tempted him to fight on.
Byrne, who turns promoter with his first show on July 7th, still holds that Irish title dream and has a BBBofC Celtic title fight with Marc Kerr scheduled for September in Glasgow, but with the taste of defeat still fresh in his mouth, admitted to Irish-Boxing.com that retirement is an option.
“My plan is not concrete at the minute, I have a BBBofC title fight scheduled in September at light middle and I may just go with that or I may walk away. Part of me is saying walk away and part of me is saying take a four rounder on my own bill and then go into that title fight,” Byrne explained.
The recent Irish light middleweight title challenger revealed life at 147lbs would suit him best, but as previously stated he is finding it hard to secure the level of fights he wants at the lighter weight.
“Everyone around me the weekend are saying get back to welter and stay there but, then again, it’s easier said that done. I like big fights and they just don’t come at welter for me.”
“I’ll decide over the next few days.”
It has to be noted, Byrne is speaking still feeling the hurt of last weekend’s result.
Reflecting on the bout, he notes he lost to another decent operator as Kean joined Irish champion Craig O’Brien as well as Matchroom starlets Felix Cash, Anthony Fowler and Josh Kelly as Byrne defeators.
“To been honest, he was decent and very quick. He ran for the eight rounds which I expected but was very good on his feet and hard to tie down,” Byrne added before analysing the fight further.
“I thought it was close enough and, after watching it, I felt it was indeed close. He was good I knew he would be and the lack of southpaw experience was always going to be a question.”
“I’m hurting over it still. I got a couple of nasty bangs of his head and got frustrated with ref not doing anything about it but that’s the game at times.”
While Byrne was still smarting following the points loss, he didn’t allow that stop him having a drink with Kean after their fight.
“He was a top fella and, look, I’ve have got on with all my opponents after the fights. It’s a sport and if you ain’t respectful you don’t deserve to be in it.”
“I sat and had a beer with him and his family and spoke about previous fights and that.”