Eddie Hearn wasn’t shy about explaining to the 4,500 fans that bought tickets for Matchroom’s return to Belfast last Saturday night that they had a huge part to play in helping Ryan Burnett become World champion.
It wasn’t that the new IBF bantamweight champion of the World needed the fans to get over the line, and he would shut out Lee Haskins in style, rather Hearn was suggesting that Belfast fight fans’ history of turning out in force ensured he could take the risk and bring the World title fight to the fight mad city.
There may not have been as many of them in the Arena when James Tennyson [19(15)-2(2)] was fighting a game and dangerous Ryan Doyle, but the Irish super featherweight title holder was equally as grateful to the still sizeable number who purchased tickets after his own vital win.
Doyle, whose father hails from Dublin, came to upset the locals and ‘The Assassin,’ and played his part in an enthralling scrap for the WBA International trinket.
Indeed, the Manchester-based pug hurt then Belfast fighter in round three of a back and forth contest, and Tennyson admits the crowd support played a part in him battling on to eventually force Doyle to retire on his stool after six fast paced-stanzas.
“The crowd played a massive part to be honest. He was a tough, tough opponent you could see that yourself. The atmosphere was great and in tough fights like that they can play a big part. You can’t beat fighting at home like that.”
Tennyson, a fighter with experience well beyond most 23 year old fighters, was very honest speaking after the bout, in fact he seemed eager to show respect to a fighter who had given him a tough test.
The Mark Dunlop-managed super feather was full of Doyle praise and came across grateful the Manc helped in putting on a show worthy of the occasion.
“That was a tough fight. I couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to be honest. It was just an excellent fight. He was a tough opponent and he caught me lovely in the third and he was giving as much as he was getting. It’s a good day. It was in an entertaining fight and I have a lovely wee belt around my waist now,” he added before commenting on the finish.
“At the end of the sixth I could feel my shots getting through. I could feel it coming. My corner told me too it was coming.”
Like his friend and stablemate Paul Hyland Jr, Tennyson isn’t one for calling out fighters or making predictions, he leaves that to Dunlop.
His manager, however, wasn’t calling for anything, but a break after his charge claimed a second successive belt in a second successive 50/50 clash.
“Wee break for now, that’s what should be next. That is two fights against two top pros in a row and two belts he will take a break next and then who knows? Windsor Park?” Dunlop added with a grin
LISTEN: Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill speak to Luke Keeler and Paddy Barnes on Episode 6 of The Irish Boxing Show: