Jay Byrne gave Josh Kelly a test tonight in Scotland but fell to a points defeat against the highly impressive debutant.
The Dublin welter was brought in to challenge the Rio Olympian tonight at the SSE Hydro on the Burns-Indongo undercard, and certainly did that, extending Kelly over six rounds.
Byrne had gone the distance with middleweight starlet Felix Cash on St Patrick’s Day but was down at the more comfortable class of light middleweight in Glasgow.
While Kelly was in control for much of the eighteen minutes, Byrne certainly came to win, finished strong, and brought a good performance out of the youngster.
Kelly, who is now training alongside Ryan Burnett and Andy Lee under Adam Booth, made a quick start, throwing nice combinations as Byrne eased his way into the contest.
The Sunderland boxer upped the pace in the second and was starting to dominate, but Byrne continues to throw.
Kelly began to implement the jab more in the third, perhaps boxing conservatively in light of the six-round distance.
As the bout entered its second half, 30 year old Byrne began to enjoy more success, but Kelly was still landing the greater number of shots.
While Byrne’s plan was assumedly to drag Kelly into deep waters, the European Games bronze medalist’s stamina seemed to be holding up well into the fifth.
The final round was perhaps the closest of the clash and Byrne would match the debutant for much of the stanza to round out a game showing.
Going to the scorecards, Kelly was awarded the bout on a scoreline of 59:55.
The gallant defeat sees Byrne slip to 4(1)-2(0), while Kelly’s brand new pro ledger starts off at 1(0)-0
While probably unconfirmed untill next week, Byrne seemed to come through the bout relatively unscathed and it is expected that he will be back in the ring on Saturday May 27th at the National Stadium in Dublin on the ‘Celtic Clash 2: The Rising’ bill.
Up next for Kelly is a date on the massive Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko heavyweight title undercard at Wembley Stadium in two weeks time.
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography