Loss to Walsh will not kill ‘The Assassin’ Tennyson’s career

On Saturday James Tennyson was denied in his bid to win the British featherweight title at the Copper Box in London.

Norfolk’s Ryan Walsh proved to be too smart and too strong for the Belfast featherweight who succumbed to a fifth round stoppage loss.

While ‘The Assassin’ was understandably disappointed at the final bell, it is worth noting that the Kronk fighter is amazingly still only 22 years old.

With eighteen fights under his belt since he turned pro at the tender age of eighteen, Tennyson is the closest thing we have here to your typical Mexican warrior.

With his Irish and Celtic titles, the youngster has already achieved more than most fighters do in their entire career, but his loss at the weekend (against a very good fighter in Ryan Walsh) should not be considered the high-watermark of his time in boxing.

Indeed the Belfast banger could have another ten years of high quality boxing to go, and it would be fair to argue that he has not yet even reached his peak as a fighter. Opportunities for the Lonsdale belt will present themselves again in the future and Tennyson will surely pick the strap up eventually.

While improvements will need to be made if Tennyson is to claim British or Commonwealth honours, we again stress – he is just 22 years old.

Merely as an illustration (and not a comparison of talents), consider Tennyson’s current standing and other star Irish pros at the age of 22 years and 9 months:

Carl Frampton – a 3(2)-0 hot prospect
Andy Lee – 8(5)-0 and coming off his stunning KO of Carl Daniels
Stephen Ormond – had not yet debuted
Spike O’Sullivan – had not yet debuted
Phil Sutcliffe – had not yet debuted
Pajo Hyland – 7(2)-0 prospect

Indeed unified and lineal heavyweight champ Tyson Fury is one of the few whose fledgling record compares favourably to Tennyson at this point in time. Back at his age, Fury was a 14(10)-0 English champion.

Tennyson and manager Mark Dunlop both did great to put themselves in the position they found themselves last weekend, and assuming the formerly ‘Baby-Faced Assassin’ continues to improve, the only way is up for a man who already has a lot going for him.

He’s won belts, his name is out there, he has a contract with Frank Warren, he hits like a horse, he has plenty left in the tank, and now has some big fight experience in the bank.

Saturday’s loss was just the beginning, not the ceiling.

Photo Credits: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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