The build-up to James Tennyson’s British title fight at the start of next month has brought a little-known Irish boxing story back to the fore.
The Belfast banger takes on Welsh scrapper Gavin Gwynne for the vacant Lonsdale belt as part of the Matchroom Fight Camp series in Essex on August 1st.
Two-weight world champion Carl Frampton is backing ‘The Assassin’ to do the business on the Sky Sports fight card and ‘The Jackal’ has plenty of first-hand Tennyson experience.
In a promo video for the fight, Frampton recalled how he sparred with Tennyson in the lead-up to his massive super bantamweight unification with Scott Quigg back in 2016.
It was hard work, and the sessions at McGuigan’s Gym almost led to the cancellation, or at least postponement, of that mega fight.
Frampton suffered a cut from one of Tennyson’s thudding blows in the final round of their final spar which was kept under wraps until after the majority-decision win over Quigg.
Frampton described how “I’ve done a lot of sparring with him, a really nice, humble kid.”
“He cut me actually, just before the Quigg fight which no-one knew about. 10 days before, my last spar, he cut my eye and I had to hide that and disguise it with make-up and stuff for the press conference and everything else.”
“Serious puncher, I think he’ll win that [Gwynne] fight and hopefully push on for bigger and better titles.”
Irish-Boxing.com spoke to Tennyson about the sparring at the time and the then-22-year-old said that “I was a bit worried that the fight could have been cancelled!”
“It would have been a lot of hard work for Carl all for nothing. The guy was in training camp for a long time away from home and his family so it would have been devastating if the fight had to be called.”
“Thankfully it wasn’t and all the work wasn’t for nothing. Now Carl is the unified World champion and it’s great to have been a help for it.”
“Sparing with Carl Frampton was great, it was a great experience for me and what better way to kick-start my training camp for the biggest fight [Ryan Walsh] of my life to date,” he added.
“Plus being around the big names in boxing really picked me up and boosted my confidence. I gained a lot from the sparing and training whilst I was in London and got great feedback from Carl Frampton and his team.”