Jay Byrne [4(1)-0] has torn up the novice ‘how to’ manual as he tries to take quickest path to the top possible.
The hungry 30 year old breaks all prospect rules when he fights on a Matchroom Promotions card on St Patrick’s Day – but claims he has no qualms about doing things differently.
The Eddie Hyland and Tommy McCormack-mentored welterweight travels to London to fill the away corner, and not only does he take on former elite amateur Felix Cash [4(3)-0], a fighter Eddie Hearn has high hopes for, he does so at middleweight and after just four fights.
Byrne admits that it’s a fight that someone at this stage of their career shouldn’t be in, and that he is going against boxing theory, but he explains there is logic behind his decision.
The Negotiator believes that he has had harder fights than Cash, a fighter those in the know in England claim is more talented than the GB Olympic representative Anthony Fowler. Additionally, he notes how he has an activity advantage, knows he can change his career with victory, and believes he has nothing to lose, even pointing out that a good display could see him kick on.
Byrne told Irish-Boxing.com that “there were no qualms about taking it, straight away I accepted the opportunity. My only worry was the power, being 17lb heavier in 3 weeks.”
“Realistically, I’m taking a fight which I shouldn’t be in, as the levels of experience are massively different – but I have fought the tougher fights and have been more active recently.”
Analysing his opponent, Byrne described how “he’s very big for the weight and has a 75% KO ratio to date, but hasn’t really been tested.”
Cash-Byrne is one of three fights on the NXTGEN card at the York Hall which will be shown live on Sky Sports 1. With the platform in mind, Byrne allows himself to dream the dream.
“To hear that I’m one of the three live Sky Sports fights tells me Matchroom have big, big hopes for him and that makes me more determined to go in and give this lad a hard time. Who knows, if I beat him I may get a few regular fights on Sky!”
“A win would be absolutely amazing and I’m sure it would open massive doors for me – and also then I may not always be the underdog.”
“If I win this fight i will want a big domestic title fight next back at welterweight.”
Fighting at middleweight is another hurdle for Byrne. Indeed he was initially due to face Conor Benn in December, a more even fight on paper. However, the Loughlinstown man has taken the new challenge in his stride.
“The weight has been strange,” he said. “Eating four meals per day to get up to middleweight while also keeping my cardio levels high. I won’t be as tight as I was at welter, but I’m in good nick and packing a lot more punch at the minute.”
A fighter with an admirable attitude, Byrne explained how “I have said since Day 1 that I ain’t here to sit around, fighting every three months against fellas who don’t come to win. This is my third fight in seven weeks, the second at this weight, and second against an opponent with a winning record.”
Noting the lack of pressure and expectation, Byrne outlined: “Let’s be honest, worst case scenario, I go and get beaten easy – sure nobody expects me to do anything and who would have thought I’d be even near a Matchroom ring after one year as a pro?”
“If I can take him the distance and cause him problems that would be a great success! If I land a few solid shots and ask questions that he ain’t been asked before, I could beat this lad and then I become a name in boxing.”
“Either way, I go into the fight with nothing to lose and that makes me dangerous as he has his future and career too lose – whereas an 0 means f*ck all to me as 90% of lads with unbeaten records are fighting bums fight after fight rather than stepping up and taking a real fight.”