The Portsmouth native takes on the recent world title challenger and European champion in a ten-round non-title lightweight bout at the Ulster Hall and is ready to change his career with victory.
Tennyson is aiming to win handily to set up a British-Commonwealth super feather unification with stablemate and sparring partner Ronnie Clark on March 30th but Neale hopes to have a say in all this.
‘The Real’ is aware a win over a such a high profile and decorated fighter would put him in contention for some much bigger fights and, having recently hit 30, admits it’s a chance he has to take.
“To win this fight would be huge for my career,” Neale told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I’m not getting any younger so I’m taking this opportunity with both hands with the chance. I could jump a few steps and have a chance at winning bigger titles [with a win on February 9th]. ”
“If we go to Ireland and get the win against James, then my boxing career will once again step up another level.”
While Neale talks about how victory could see him progress up the ladder, the undefeated fighter admits he makes a massive step up when he appears on the MHD show that also includes an Irish title fight between Feargal McCrory and Karl Kelly as well as bouts for Paul Hyland Jr, Tommy McCarthy, Luke Wilton, Cathy McAleer, Joe Fiztpatrick, and Mathew Fitzsimons.
“It’s definitely a step up,” Neale added.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to show what I can do at the next level up from I’m used to fighting.”
Neale reveals the chance to fight the recent IBF super featherweight world title challenger came out of the blue, but claims it fit perfectly into his career plan.
The Pompey fan ended a four year stint out of the game in September and wanted two victories before looking for a big fight.
“The fight came out of the blue to be honest. I was away watching Portsmouth FC play Barnsley when I got the phone call.”
“Me and my team sat down once I announced I was coming back from retirement, and said we would squeeze two fights in before the New Year and after would look to step things up in my pursuit of titles.”
The first Irish show of the 2019 has real potential to be entertaining and Neale believes his fight with Tennyson will play a major role in exciting the fans.
“James as a fighter is very similar to me. We are both come forward fighters, which could make for a very entertaining fight,” he continues before suggesting he sees more than one way to defeat ‘The Assassin’.
“Winning this fight could come from different ways – without giving nothing away!”
Considering his recent past and his experience at world level Tennyson will go into the Commonwealth title fight as favourite. He didn’t hold the favourite tag going into his last fight against Tevin Farmer in Boston. Here the Philly fighter was 1/3 with William Hill while Tennyson causing an upset was priced at 3/1 with the draw as high 28/1.
Expect those odds to be reversed for ‘Tenny’s’ clash with Neale, although the Portsmouth fighter is confident of an upset. You can check the odds as seen on boxing betting sites.