Meet James ‘El Asesino’ Tennyson your new favourite fighter

“If my name was Sam Allardici people would say I am a tactical genius,” quipped the quintessential old school proper ‘football man’ Sam Allardyce.

Based on actual results, ‘Big Sam’s’ own argument had little merit – but we’d like to use the template of the argument to suggest that if James Tennyson’s name was Jaime Tenchez, the Belfast lightweight would be regarded as one of the most exciting fighters to watch in world boxing.

Forget Saul Alvarez, Mexico would have a new flamed haired hero and one that compares more favourably in terms of fighting style to the countries all time greats.

The region with a soft spot for Spike O’Sullivan would have a hard on for the bomb throwing, forward marching Poleglass puncher.

When Tennyson enters the ring he does so with a kill or be killed attitude, highlighted by the fact only three of his 30 fights have lasted the distance.

‘The Assassin’ hasn’t been involved in a fight that has gone the distance since two months before Alvarez and Julio Chavez Jr fought in 2017.

Mexican’s would not only take ‘Jaime Tenchez’ into their hearts they’d show their undying love in chest tattoo form.

Then, if you’re a Mexican hero you’re bound to be a name in America. Those from south of the border sell well north of it and are given a platform to become stars of the sport.

So in that regard ‘El Asesino’ would at least be given the chance to win over American fight fans – and if as Andy Lee often reminds us, the knockout is currency stateside, Tennyson with 23 knockouts and a forced disqualification from 27 wins and three stoppage defeats is the Wolf of Wall Street in terms of entertainment.

Yet a fighter that is never in a boring fight, has a real boxing record, has won a European title, challenged for a world title, and has a highlight reel Rocky would be proud of, isn’t overly celebrated back home.

Indeed, Tennyson hasn’t even got the profile of a host of Irish fighters who have yet to reach the heights he has, although admittedly that has begun to change now Eddie Hearn has started to build some hype around the lightweight.

The quiet nature of a fighter hoping to take a massive step to a second world title fight with victory over Josh O’Reilly may play a part.

However, some would argue the fact he finds it uncomfortable under hot glare of the spotlight should make him more appealing.

There is always something beautiful about a silent but deadly assassin – and if Mark Dunlop-managed fighter isn’t going shout about his achievements fans should do it for him.

There is also a sight for more traditional sore eyes element to ‘Tenny’s’ record and subsequently his journey.

Tennyson has had to navigate the badly lit small hall roads early on in his career and had to recover from being blinded when the spotlight eventually arrived.

It’s not quite rag to riches, but it’s a storyline with enough plot twists to keep everyone entertained.

However, as stated before, it’s a story that’s been told around the hardcore campfire rather than one being shouted about from the mountain tops.

Some doubts regarding punch resistance possibly left some wary of committing to praising the Tony Dunlop-trained fighter in public – and the fact his two of his three most recent Sky dates played out on Facebook rather than on television haven’t helped.

Any vulnerabilities seemed to have disappeared with the move up to lightweight and the Belfast Kronk fighter certainly has platform impress Friday.

In that regard, this isn’t a sad piece, nor a piece lamenting the lack of mass Tenny love, rather it’s a forewarning.

If you want to be entertained, if you like your Mexican fighters, if you appreciate a big puncher and rejoice in the unassuming, tune into Sky Sports this weekend.

There you will find a new fighter to follow and just at a time when things will get very interesting.

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 sport for a living for 19 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