Even Ireland’s most pragmatic boxer can fall foul to a boxer’s fighting spirit and enter the delusional world most fighters have to live in.
So when it came to taking another away corner fight so soon into his return, Jay Byrne wasn’t going to trust his gut.
‘The Negotiator, who only ended a three-and-a-half-year sabbatical from the ring with victory over Jiri Kroupa in Waterford in April, fights Wasserman Boxing prospect, Oliver Zaren [8(2)-0] in Newcastle this Saturday night.
At first glance, the clash, which plays out on the undercard of former foe Josh Kelly’s return home, looks typically Byrne. The Pete Taylor-trained fighter has always looked to marry taking risks on big cards with progressing domestically.
The 36-year-old has shared the ring with the likes of Anthony Fowler, Kelly, and Felix Cash on Matchroom cards, and although he lost he still managed to win the BUI Celtic and BBBofC Celtic titles by contesting domestically.
However, Byrne says this is different than his previous Matchroom match-ups, he travels to Newcastle confident he can cause an upset not just promising to give it his all against a prospect of note. Confidence is something every fight would preach going into a similar fight but, in this case, the self-belief doesn’t just come from within.
The 36-year-old Dub has consulted everyone whose opinion he trusts from his other half to coach Pete Taylor and they have all told him it’s a winnable fight and he has what it takes to shock the Dane.
“I don’t think he is special. I sent [footage of him] to my brother he said he thought I have a chance of beating him. I sent it to Pete [Taylor] and another coach in the gym and they all said ‘You know what? You could beat him’,” he tells Irish-boxing.com.
“Pete said to accept it straight away and Pete doesn’t like losing, he doesn’t like anyone losing in the gym, so when he said that to me I thought he really thinks I can win this.
“My missus watches boxing, she’d be a big boxing fan, even when I’m away boxing she is watching all the cards and she said to me I think you can beat him. So everyone was saying it to me and not just yes-men, people who would tell me if it was too much.”
The former Bray Wanderers footballer has been working on refining his skillset since he teamed up with Taylor in Ballyfermot but claims he will consult his old rough-and-ready style for this DAZN-broadcast clash.
‘The Negotiator’ is planning to bring the fight to former heavyweight Zaren.
“Pete had been teaching me how to box because that was the one thing I wasn’t good at. I was good at fighting and coming forward but Pete was teaching me how to box, box on the back foot, and work on my jab instead of always trudging forward taking shots to give shots.
“When we accepted this fight he said ‘we have to go back to your own style but doing it clever’. I’m not going in there to outbox this lad I’m going in to beat him, so whatever has to happen, happens.
“I’ve watched him. I’ve watched a few of his sparring videos, I’ve delved in deep, and in my opinion, he doesn’t like pressure, which is what I feel I’m good at. He also doesn’t box on the inside which is where I believe I’m strong,” he adds before promising action for four rounds.
“Over four rounds it’s going to be go, go, go. I just have to get in and be clever, do what I have to do.”