Kelly steps into serious spotlight for the first time in his career when he fights for the vacant BUI light welterweight Celtic title atop the JB Promotions bill on Friday night.
The Pete Taylor-trained Kildare fighter also steps up in levels as he trades leather with Welsh champion Jake Tinklin in the first domestic title fight of 2024.
It’s a platform, a level of opponent, and a title the Leixlip native can use to level up claims the promoter, suggesting he will become the main domestic man at the weight with victory.
“I think this could be the making of Senan,” Byrne tells Irish-boxing.com.
“This is a kid who has trained alongside great fighters over the past few years, fighters who have been on the big stage in main events like Sean McComb, Tyrone [McKenna], Jazza [Dickens] and Gary [Gary Cully], now it’s his turn to be the headline act and go in chase of his first title. Please God, he can get his hand raised and push onto an Irish title in May.”
Considering he is a veteran of two 10-round title fights, Tinklin comes to Dublin with more experience than the home fighter and on paper could be deemed a slight favourite.
Byrne notes it’s a challenge and a massive step up for Kelly, who has yet to be given the opportunity to show his champion credentials but backs his charge to get the win.
A former BUI Celtic champion himself, ‘The Negotiator’ wants the Irish side of the fight to put it on the Gavin Rees-trained boxer.
“I watched the opponent and he can box, he also has experience of title fights, but I feel Senan wins once he turns up ready and puts it on Jake. I sent it footage to Senan’s coach and he approved also,” he adds.
There have been suggestions Byrne could have found a less dangerous passage to champion status for Kelly. That’s not the young promoter’s MO, he wants his fighters in tests of note and fights that will help them progress. Plus, as he has previously stated, a host of Irish fighter’s turned down the opportunity to fight Kelly.
“My job as Senan’s manager is to steer him towards progression and he asked for this title so I feel I have delivered.”