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BBBofC order Cordina vs Tennyson – Matchroom starlet has a month to agree a deal or step aside

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Joe Cordina [11(7)-0] has a month to decide whether to vacate the British lightweight title or defend against James Tennyson [26(22)-3(3)].

The Belfast knockout artist earned Lonsdale belt mandatory status when he stopped the extremely tough Craig Evans in Liverpool last November – and the British Boxing Board of Control have now ordered the Cordina and Tennyson to fight.

The opposing teams have until noon February 12 to come to an agreement or the fight will go to purse bids. The BBBofC also revealed the pair have to fight before May is done.

Reaching a deal shouldn’t be to hard as Mark Dunlop, Tennyson’s manager has a close working relationship with Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, who promotes prospect Cordina.

Indeed, the former world title challenger has become somewhat of a Sky Sports regular of late.

As a result the issue isn’t whether a deal can be made or not, it’s whether or not Cordina will stay at lightweight and fight Irish boxing’s pound for pound biggest puncher.

The Welsh fighter dropped to super featherweight, a weight Tennyson previously won European honours in, to collect a ranking title when he last fought.

It has been suggested he may stay at super featherweight, which would free Tennyson up to fight for a vacant strap.

Indeed even if the 28-year-old returns to lightweight, such is the threat of ‘The Assassin’, that Cordina may vacate to pursue Continental success rather than risk his unbeaten record.

Regardless the board have called for the fight and it should be clear as to what’s next for Tennyson by early February at the latest.

“The Stewards decided to put the above contest to purse bids to be submitted in accordance with the Terms and Conditions to the Board’s Head Office by 12:00noon on Wednesday, 12th February 2020, the contest to take place by the end of May 2020,” it read in the BBBofC circular.

The British board also ordered an eliminator between former Irish cruiserweight champion Luke Watkins and Mikael Lawal.

Sam Hyde and Deion Jumah will compete in a final eliminator for former Tommy McCarthy foe, Richard Riakporhe’s title, so victory won’t secure the Paddy Fitzpatrick trained fighter a shot at the title, rather move him a step closer to a tilt.


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com