Byrne’s last man standing aim

by Karl Graham

JAY Byrne is in buoyant mood since signing a contract to fight fellow Dubliner Craig O’Brien for the Irish light-middleweight title at the inaugural Last Man Standing event at the National Stadium on March 3.
The Loughlinstown man took home the then-vacant BUI Celtic welterweight title last December, stopping Gerard “Crank” Whitehouse in the fourth round, and is now hoping to have two belts around his waist on the night of the Prizefighter-style competition.
“I was the one who suggested the fight,” Byrne told the Dublin Gazette. “There was nobody in the south of Ireland to fight for the Irish welterweight title.
“I had seen Craig had been mentioned about wanting to go for an Irish title in 2018. I looked across the board and, to be honest, I didn’t see many at light middleweight either so I saw it as an opening to throw it across to his management team.
“I asked who they were planning on getting for the Irish title because I would well be willing to step up and I know Mel [Christle], President of the BUI, would ok it because I know he was impressed by the December performance.
“It then came out in an Irish Boxing interview, they asked would I step up to the weight and I said of course I would, I’ve done it more times than I haven’t.
“I said if the opportunity came to fight Craig, it would be an honour to step into the ring with him and to fight for the Irish title would be a dream.”
Byrne had initially made the decision to retire after the fight with Whitehouse but underwent a quick u-turn after talking to his family and team.
“If this hadn’t happened, I’m sure I would have got a big fight on a Sky card or a Box Nation card. [However], I was confident this was going to get across the line because Craig wanted it, I wanted it, and I think the promoters really wanted it. Any promoter would want an Irish fight with two local Dublin lads fighting against each other.”
Byrne also spoke about what could possibly happen after the fight if he walks away from the ring victorious.
“I was speaking to someone this morning [Monday] and they said win this fight and you will become ranked in Europe. To me, that’s crazy stuff.
“I would ideally like to go back and win the Irish welterweight title but, obviously, if you do get ranked in Europe then chances are the phone will ring for a big fight.
“If that were to happen, I won’t turn down a big fight.”
The fight will see Byrne go into a ten-round fight for the first time, but it won’t faze him in the slightest.
“The last camp I sparred ten rounds against some really tough lads. 10 rounds or 12 rounds, they are the fights I come strong in.”

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