Byrne promises ring return

by Karl Graham
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JAY Byrne has revealed that he will not be hanging up his gloves just yet as he looks to build on his latest victory, which saw him claim the vacant BUI Celtic welterweight title.
Byrne left the National Stadium with the belt around his waist after stopping the hugely fancied prospect Gerard ‘Crank’ Whitehouse in the fourth round on the Celtic Clash 4 card earlier this month, and had hinted it may be the last time we see him in the ring.
He has, however, confirmed he is hungry to win more titles.
“I’ve discussed it with my missus, [and my team] Declan Geraghty, Tommy McCormack and Eddie Hyland as well, and all the lads think I should go now and push on,” Byrne told the Dublin Gazette from his hotel in Las Vegas.
“I won’t take little fights. I won’t be going back to Dublin – no disrespect to journeymen – just selling tickets and fighting journeymen. Those days are gone for me.
“Before the fight, I had decided – win, lose or draw – I had done everything that I could have dreamed of in boxing. Although I lost the three fights on Sky, they were dream fights for me. They were nights were I came home with a smile on my face – bar the [Anthony] Fowler fight where I felt I just didn’t turn up.”
The fight with Whitehouse was one of the most eagerly anticipated in Ireland after a row broke out over Facebook between the two parties.
“At the end of March, I was asked to fight Gerard and I accepted straight away. I didn’t contemplate money, I just said yes I’ll fight him, send me over what you are offering,” said Byrne
“I never go too much into the money side of it because I don’t do the boxing for money. But the contract never came over so I accepted the Josh Kelly fight a week later. They then went on Facebook and started saying I didn’t want to fight and had accepted another fight.
“After the Josh Kelly fight, they started to talk about it again so I said send me over the contract. In the contract they sent over, they wanted me to pay them €1,500 out of the ticket money to fight. Why would I pay be paying to fight on your show?
“That makes no sense. I said I would make a show contribution of €500 if you want. They said no before Tony Davitt said I wasn’t a worthy opponent for Gerard. I said ‘ok grand’, so that went by the wayside.”
Byrne explained how he was then going to take a break over the summer before he was offered the bout with Fowler. Two days after he was stopped by Fowler, Byrne was approached again about fighting Whitehouse.
He says he was offered €2,000 for the fight only for it to be withdrawn and replaced with an offer of €500 after complaints from Davitt. Byrne refused to take the offer out of principal, and eventually agreed to enter the ring for €750.
As well as taking to the ring himself, Byrne has also started to dabble in the promotion and management side of the sport – signing hot prospect Karl Kelly to his books.
“I actually have Karl out in February; it’s going to be announced this week. I had an offer for him to fight on Sky up in Belfast back in October. It was just a bit early for Karl, he’s a kid, he’s only 22. We will take chances with Karl. I’m not going to paper him up, he knows that.
“He wants to go down the same road as me. He wants to be in tough, tough fights and I know for a fact we will get him fights in Dublin and fights on the road.”
Byrne is now on the lookout for a new management company to represent him going forward.

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