Irish champion James Tennyson – “The fight turned out just as we planned it”

It may have seemed to some that James Tennyson [18(14)-2(2)] had pulled out the equaliser to rescue a fight in which the momentum had swung his opponent’s way last night at the Waterfront Hall.

However, the big punching youngster, who with 20 fights has experience beyond his 23 years, described how he picked up the Irish super featherweight title exactly how he and his team had planned.

It was the perfect execution of a game plan and not Hail Mary style fortune that saw Declan Geraghty stopped in the sixth round. The Lisburn fighter knew his Dublin foe would be tricky to pin down early on, but felt his pressure would finally tell down the stretch and his power would be the difference.

“I was really comfortable in there. I knew he was going to tire out and I knew there would be a time he would have to stand in front of me and we would have to trade. I didn’t know how hurt he was in the second round, but when I landed the left hook clean on the knuckle [in the sixth], I knew that was the end,” said Tennyson afterwards.

Outlining his preparations, the former St Paul’s amateur explained that “the whole way through the camp my trainer [Tony Dunlop] told me ‘you land that left hook and that will bring an end to it.'”

“He dismissed my sparring, but we had sparring partners similar to him and every one of them was slowing down so we knew it would happen to him.”

“The plan went perfect and the fight turned out just as we planned it, right down to my trainer saying you land the left hook and that will be the end of it.”

Indeed, ‘The Assassin’ was told to all but forget about winning the first three rounds so, after a stunning second round knockdown, he was exceeding expectations and was level on the scorecard after five before he dropped Geraghty with a left hook in sixth and finished the job seven seconds shy of the bell.

He admitted that “I knew the first few rounds wouldn’t go my way because I knew he would be on his toes, but I knew we would end up trading at one stage and that is what happen.”

Without bemoaning the result, Team Geraghty did suggest the stoppage was premature, but Tennyson doesn’t agree and claims he knew the former two-weight amateur champion was hurting.

“I don’t think it was too early as soon as I landed the left hook I thought it was over. He had to stay in front of me then and he was feeling them shots.”

The victory looked as if it might bring the Irish title back into play with a champion others at the weight could call out. Jono Carroll, who was ringside was a name-dropped in post fight, but it looks like the Belfast Kronk fighter is going to target the British title and may vacate the green belt.

“We are not fighting for no more Irish titles, he has proved he is above that level now,” manager Mark Dunlop claimed before Tennyson, who lost out to Ryan Walsh in a featherweight Lonsdale challenge, added that “it’s bigger and better things now.”

“Maybe we can look toward the British title again. I said before the last time the weight played a part, but I am comfortable now [at super featherweight].”

Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show:

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie