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“Who Knows?” – Unlikely World title shot could be around the corner for James Tennyson

James Tennyson [19(15)-2(2)] was one of the stars of the last Sky Sports show during the Summer and is now hoping to build on to this tomorrow night and perhaps even set himself up for a world title fight.

‘The Assassin’ stopped Ryan Doyle last time out, live on Sky Sports, winning the WBA International title in the process. Now ranked 5th with the organisation, Tennyson is hoping to build on this with a defence against Darren Traynor that may even set up one of the more unlikely Irish World title challenges

The Poleglass puncher is taking everything in his stride ahead of the fight on the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

Still only 24, but almost a seasoned vet of televised fights, Tennyson is focused on the job at hand

“I’m not really looking at it in a different way going into it,” he said.

“I have a job to do, defend my title this time rather than fighting for a title. The job is no different, I’ll go in there and get the job, defend my title and we’ll see what the future holds.”

“Last time the atmosphere was unreal. I think they sold nearer enough the equivalent of all the tickets last time in just a week or two so it makes for an even better night.”

“Doyle started fast and faded away which is what we were expecting, so the game plan worked. Fair play to him, he took it on a couple of days’ notice but I was definitely getting through to him as the fight went on.”

“Belfast boxing is booming. It’s full of competitive talent. To be a part of it is fantastic. The fans are unreal.”

While back at featherweight, Tennyson was due to face Scotland’s Traynor in February 2016 in a British title final eliminator. He would step aside to allow the Aberdeen boxer a direct shot at champion Ryan Doyle with a guaranteed shot at the winner for Tennyson.

Both would be stopped in the fifth round and both would move up in weight – where they would appear to be much improved.

Tennyson isn’t particularly worried about 30 year old Traynor [14(6)-1(1)] and hasn’t done any research beyond a few cursory glances two years ago.

The Belfast puncher noted that “I think I was okay with what I saw. In all honesty I don’t know that much about Traynor. He’s sharp with quick hands. I’m going in there with a bit of an open mind but we’ll see what he brings on the night.”

“My team have been struggling to find some recent footage of him since the Walsh defeat. I don’t worry about that side of the game, I just focus on myself and listen to what they are telling me in training. We’ll work him out on the night as the fight unfolds.”

“Obviously my trainer Tony {Dunlop] did some research but I wouldn’t really, I just got on with camp and trained hard. I’ll let him worry about what I’m going to bring on the night.”

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m making super featherweight really easy, there’s no struggle whatsoever. I’m comfortable and I’m feeling fit and strong. The weight is all good, I’m looking forward to getting the show on the road. I’ve got itchy knuckles for sure. I want to get in there, enjoy myself and perform.”

A few hours after Tennyson v Traynor, the man ranked at #4 in the WBA – Puerto Rican Alberto Machado – will take on champion Jezreel Corrales of Panama in Verona, New York.

While it could hardly be imagined even a year ago, Tennyson finds himself in a very strong position on the world scene.

Likely to bolster his ranking should he win tomorrow on a card which will be shown on Panamanian TV, a world title shot is not beyond the realms of possibility and Tennyson explained how “you never know what the future could hold.”

“Obviously I’m sitting fifth with the WBA and am in a WBA title fight. The guy ranked above me is actually getting a shot, so who knows? If that opportunity presented itself I would jump on it.”

“It’s the pinnacle and if you don’t take the risks, you may not reap the rewards.”

“It’s very exciting to be in the mix. I haven’t looked too deep into it. Who knows what may happen, but if the champion is looking down the rankings I may be in with a shout of a voluntary shot or further down the line it’ll be down to me and my team to force the issue and eventually be in a position where they will have to fight me.”

“I’m not looking past Darren Traynor though, the guy’s coming to win. I have to go in, put on a performance, get the win, and then I can look at the future.”


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