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James Tennyson hits back at IBO World Title criticism

James Tennyson [27(23)-3(3)] has come to the defence of the IBO World Title and claims winning it will mean ‘the world’ to him and his team.

When it was officially confirmed the popular and ever-entertaining lightweight would challenge for the IBO crown on May 1st’s Sky Box Office card, many fight fans bemoaned the titles; presence on the card.

In fact some expressed anger and were upset the fan favourite was challenging for it. Here at Irish-boxing.com we argued such was the momentum ‘The Assassin’ had gathered and the platform he now fights off as a Matchroom fighter, that there was no need to muddy the waters by challenging for a divisive title.

Most surmised the knockout artist was just following promotional orders but he has come out in defence of the strap and the decision to fight for it.

It seems ‘Tenny’ has noticed, noted, and hit back at the criticism

“When my fight was announced, I was reading a lot of comments from people saying about how there’s so many titles in each organisation,” he began when talking to BoxingNews24.

“WBA have a few; WBC have a few. With the IBO, they’ve only got one world title. You win that, you’re the IBO world champion, there’s nobody else in the same weight category that’s going to be IBO world champion, you know? There’s a lot of belts floating around. In a way, it does give fighters the opportunity to get up there, but I believe an organisation should have one world title rather than having so many apiece.”

The 27-year-old ‘Irish Golovkin’, who challenged Tevin Farmer for the IBF super featherweight world title, also claimed winning the strap last held by Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe will mean the world to him.

“Getting this IBO world title means everything to me,” he continued. “I’ve been working my whole life; I’ve been boxing from seven years of age to get me to this point. So, you know, first crack at a world title, I fell short; I’m not going to leave anything to chance this time around. It’ll mean the world to me to win this title, and everyone around me. I’ve been in camp for a good, long while. I’ll be ready to lift this world title.”

The Mark Dunlop-managed fighter’s IBO admiration may come from the pulling power he believes it has. If he buckles the strap around his waist on the same card as Katie Taylor’s eagerly anticipated clash with Natasha Jonas, he believes it may bring admiring glances from some of the massive names in the division.

Whether this is the case remains to be seen – as the belt isn’t recognised by the four major bodies – but Tennyson is confident IBO success will bring him closer to possible fights with the likes of WBC titlist Devin Haney, Mayweather protege Gervonta Davis, Golden Boy Ryan Garcia, and unified champ Teofimo Lopez.

“I just need my opportunity to be able to prove myself with the top names in the lightweight division,” he said. “When the opportunity comes, you’re going to see me victorious. With winning this IBO world title, it’s going to put me in line for big fights with the other lightweight champions. That’s what I’ve been working my way towards, being able to face the top names in the lightweight division and prove myself.”

“It’ll be good to win this IBO world title and it could maybe set up a big unification fight. The IBO is a title them other lightweights haven’t got. Maybe it could entice them into a big fight.”

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