James Tennyson scores KO comeback win


112 days ago James Tennyson saw his first world title chance waved away.

Tonight the Poleglass puncher was back in the ring and back knocking opponents out in the headline fight of the MHD Promotions ‘A Night To Remember’ card at the Ulster Hall.

Tennyson needed just under two rounds to finish Garry Neale, dropping the Englishman twice in the second to bounce back from defeat last time out.

The Belfast banger made the major step up to world level back in October at the famous Boston Garden and was stopped in five rounds by classy IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer.

The Philly southpaw was massively impressive but there was no shame in the Irishman’s game and aggresive performance.

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Indeed, Tennyson and his team were miffed by referee Arthur Mercante Jr’s stoppage, noting that his two visits to the canvas came via bodyshots and that he was not afforded the chance to rise following the second journey down.

However, with the experience in the bag and his hunger nowhere near satisfied, ‘The Assassin’ was back on the hunt tonight at the iconic Belfast venue.

A defence of his Commonwealth super featherweight title was the initial plan but instead it was Portsmouth lightweight Neale and a non-title ten-rounder that was on the agenda.

Tennyson scaled a career-high 137.8lbs and looked every inch a lightweight – and a big one at that – as he dominated his English opponent here from the opening bell.

Tennyson began strongly, imposing himself on Neale and the writing looked on the wall from the opening exchanges, with the visitor on a constant retreat.

Upping the ante in the second, Tennyson dropped Neale to the body and while the 30-year-old rose, he was sent back down right at the close and Hugh Russell Jr would wave proceedings off.

The early win sees Tennyson improve his record to 23(19)-3(3), while Neale falls to 10(1)-1(1) following his first career defeat.

While his future plans are undecided – Tennyson will sit down with his team next week – it is hard to imagine a return to super feather.

Now back on the horse, and amazingly still only 25 years of age, there are plenty of big fights about in the lightweight class – from British champion and fellow fearsome puncher Lewis Ritson to Scottish legend Ricky Burns.

For now, though, Tennyson will enjoy a quick rest and some time with his partner Carli and newborn son James Jr who arrived midway through camp.

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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: [email protected]