James Tennyson reveals retirement reasons

James Tennyson has revealed issues outside of the ring were the true catalyst behind his surprise retirement.

One of the biggest punchers in Irish boxing history shocked everyone when he called it a day at the young age of 28 last June.

There were suggestions at the time, that ‘Tenny’ had lost some love for the sport after his surprise defeat to Jovanni Straffon in Manchester a month previous, and called it a day as a result.

However, the fighter who turned over as a teenager and had been a pro for just under a decade, has since revealed he was plotting a move up the weight and a return.

Speaking to Pro Boxing Fans the Belfast fan favourite revealed out-of-the-ring issues prompted him to make the difficult decision to call it a day.

“It wasn’t the loss or anything to do with the Straffon fight, it was to do with things outside the ring. It was a long hard decision, I sat down with my team, my family and I shed a few tears along the way,” he said.

“It was a tough decision to make and it was nothing to do with the loss. I was back training after a good break and if I had of come back I’d have moved up in weight – but a few factors outside the ring helped make the decision. It was a difficult one but the right one.”

The former British and European Champion is content in retirement and happy to be somewhat involved coaching kids and doing seconds for some MHD fighters.

“I’ll be honest I’m enjoying retirement, eating what I want, doing what I want, and enjoying a bit of time with my girlfriend and my child. You do miss it, I still train, I go up to the gym and help train the lads. I’m enjoying retirement but I do miss it at times, I was 21 years boxing, a long time, so it’s only right to miss it.”

Asked if he would consider a retirement U-turn he adds: “I don’t know, it was a tough decision to make and it would be even tougher to decide to come back. I’m always training but for now no. I am happy to still be involved and to have my foot in the door.”

Tennyson had an extraordinary career, especially when you consider he turned over without any degree of fanfare and with a solid rather than standout amateur background.

He went on to become a two-time Irish super featherweight champion, a British Champion at featherweight, a Commonwealth titlist, one of only 15 Irish European champions and won the famous blue strap in the most dramatic of fashions.

Not only did the quiet and shy puncher win titles he won hearts along the way. You were guaranteed entertainment when the MHD fighter fought. When Tennyson entered the ring he did so with a kill-or-be-killed attitude, highlighted by the fact only three of his 31 fights have lasted the distance.

In fact, the IBF super featherweight world title challenger hadn’t been involved in a fight that has gone the distance since 2017 as set of on one of the most entertaining runs of any Irish boxer, ever, forging himself a reputation as one of the biggest all-time Irish punchers.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years