Having upset a Kynoch fighter in Marc Kerr to claim the title in November, ‘The Negotiator’ returns to Scotland to defend it against national champion Stefan Sanderson [5(1)-0] in Turnberry this Saturday night.
With talk suggesting a Byrne win may set up a Paul Kean rematch, the boxer-manager-trainer seems only aware the Scottish promoter, who is an advocate of an Ireland-Scotland boxing link up, is keen on having the prestigious belt within his stable.
However, the 32-year-old champion is adamant he won’t be losing to the undefeated Sanderson this weekend and advises the promoter he has a good working relationship with that it would be easier to sign the champion rather than try fighter to dethrone him.
“You can be sure I will be going there to keep my belt,” Byrne told Irish-boxing.com.
“Sam may have other ideas but, let’s face it, he wanted Marc Kerr to take the belt and look how that panned out. It may be cheaper to put me on the books when I beat this lad!”
The veteran of five title fights will have to win his opponent’s home country to retain the title, but Byrne has no issue.
The Loughlinstown man is used to travelling, indeed he prefers going on the road.
“I prefer to travel it suits me better, no stress about tickets or any of that nonsense, I brought near 40 to Scotland in November so it was a great noise for me. I won the title just like I did the BUI Celtic title,” he adds before he claims he is more than willing to defend either.
“I always claimed that I would defend at anytime, their my belts and if anyone wants a pop then I’m open to talk. when you’re the champion you hold the right to say no to a fight or a shitty deal so that also helps”
Byrne is always relatively confident going into his bouts and exists in the comfort of a ‘give it a go’ realm.
However, despite Sanderson beating the tricky Kean last time out, Byrne feels he enters the ring as a favourite – and he believes that is because he is the better of the two operators.
“I think Stefan is a tough lad but basic, a southpaw so a bit of adjusting to do but that’s it nothing else really, if I perform then I win, I’m most definitely the better and for once probably the favourite entering this one.”
The gym boss retired after he won the belt, although he always left the door open claiming he would defend if his wife allowed and the pay packet was sufficient.
Returning from a retired mentality hasn’t been easy, but the fighter is on point and ready to perform this weekend.
“I’ve questioned [the decision to fight on] a few time in the last week or so,” he admits.
“86kg to 69kg ain’t easy across a six week platform especially with the missus’s birthday, Valentine’s day and my job being based a lot around entertaining clients with meals and lunches!”
“But as I said from day one if the right fight comes along with the right money then I’ll do it and that I have. I made the check weight this morning [Tuesday] and am in tip top shape as always.”