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Byrne stepping up

Last month, Crumlin welterweight Dean Byrne went to Monte Carlo as underdog in a WBA Continental fight. Pundits reckoned his opponent, Russia's Roman Belaev (12-0), would floor Byrne early. But the 29-year-old Dubliner took the favourite the full 12 rounds and won a host of new fans with his blood-and-guts display.

Now Byrne (17-3-1, 6KOs) knows he's going to come up against some serious opposition in the Prizefighter Welterweight Tournament at the York Hall on April 5.

Added to the bill are former European lightweight champion Jason Cook, unbeaten John Coyle (20), unbeaten Johnny Garton and Marc Douglas. They join Byrne and former British light middleweight challenger Erick Ochieng, Commonwealth gold medalist Paddy Gallagher and Midlands Area champion Sam Eggington.

But Byrne is ready.