Strike while ‘The Iron’s’ not hot – Jay Byrne calls for Craig O’Brien Irish title rematch

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Jay Byrne [9(2)-8(2)] believes things are falling into place with regard to him securing the rematch with Craig O’Brien [11(1)-2(1)] he has long since craved.

Byrne was out pointed by O’Brien when the pair fought for the Irish light middleweight title live on TG4 back in March of 2018.

‘The Negotiator’ has been looking for a rematch or an Irish title shot at a different weight since.

The 33-year-old has been involved in strap clashes, twice losing in Scotland hosted BUI Celtic light middleweight title fights before winning and defending the sought after British Boxing Board of the Control version of the title.

However, the nomadic puncher still holds an Irish title dream and believes the timing might just be right for an O’Brien rematch.

O’Brien was granted a massive break through chance last time out, but despite putting in a solid display against Kieran Conway he suffered a points defeat.

Byrne, who having fought on Sky Sports against up and comers and found himself in similar situation on more than one occasion, suggests the Inner City Dub will now be faced with a ‘what next’ dilemma.

He surmises a fighter of the Celtic Warrior Gym punchers standing won’t fancy another trek through journeymen and as a result will be solid fight keen.

There has been talk of America with that in mind, but O’Brien’s fellow Dub argues his former foe may want to fight at home in a bid to try and avoid any away corner pitfalls.

Byrne also noted that the BUI had made Steven Donnelly mandatory for the O’Brien’s strap, but since moved up to middleweight. He reads that as the BUI wanting to keep the title active and see’s it a chance for him to step in.

“I have said it before I’d love to rematch Craig. I have nothing against him, he is a good lad and a good fighter. For me it’s about the Irish title. Getting the rematch was hard before but I think the timing might be right now,” Byrne told Irish-boxing.com.

“The BUI seem to want him to defend the title. They sanctioned a fight between Craig and Donnelly, but Donnelly has moved up. I am willing to step in there and fight him.

“It’s a good fight and a fight the fans would like to see again. I think it’s a fight Craig might take too. He is in that place now where you don’t know what to do. I can’t see him going back to building against journeymen. He might go to America but all his support is here, he doesn’t have to travel abroad and be in the away corner.”

Finding a home for the fight would prove an issue with the lack of cards in Dublin. However, there has been rumour of an April show in the capital and there is May 9 and Waterford.

Having lost his last two in Manchester, both up and middleweight and interest, Byrne feels he needs a win first, but is hopeful the fight can happen.

“I’d like to and probably have to get a win first, but maybe we can look to do it in the Summer. It would be an entertaining fight that would add value to any card.”

If the fight doesn’t come off the Loughlinstown fighter still hopes to busy this year.

“I talked to [Scottish based prmoter] Sam Kynoch and he said he can have me busy this year.”

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com