Jovanni Straffon [23(16)-3(0)-1] is tough, in fact, he is that kind of Mexican tough, but even that isn’t tough enough to hold out against an improved James Tennyson [28(24)-3(3)] warns coach Tony Dunlop.
The 27-year-old they call ‘Impacto’ is the latest lightweight to attempt to stop ‘The Assassin’s’ 135lbs KO streak. All six men who shared the ring with the former European super featherweight champion since he moved up the scales failed to reach the final bell.
No doubt Straffon is coming to Manchester to win and with 16 knockouts to his name he certainly appears to have a puncher’s chance against ‘Tenny’ on the undercard of Derek Chisora versus Joseph Parker. The fact he has never been stopped also suggests he may have what it takes to withstand punishment from the pound-for-pound hardest puncher in Irish boxing, his Mexican heritage also plays into that narrative.
However, coach Dunlop disagrees. Having studied Straffon since he was confirmed as Ricky Burns’s replacement, the Belfast Kronk boss has observed the Mexican likes a fight. Dunlop points out the Minatitlan, Veracruz born fighter, who has experience of fighting abroad having traded leather in Canada and Russia, likes to stand and trade, and doesn’t know how to ride a bike, which in turn means he will be there to be hit – and as a result will be knocked out.
“This Mexican comes forward, he’s a puncher as his record suggests and comes into the mixer. But James is in the best condition he has ever been and I predict a knockout in about seven rounds. This guy is tough, he is Mexican tough but he’s not tough enough,” Dunlop told the press during fight week.
With 24 knockouts from 28 Tennyson has proved himself a knockout machine with the kind of power reserved for fictional boxers like Clubber Lang.
However, ‘the Irish GGG’ isn’t just programed seek and destroy. He argues there are other facets to his game yet to be seen.
“In a fight, if I need to switch things up a bit, box move, defence I can do it but what I have been doing so far has been working and long may it continue,” Tennyson said during fight week.
“When you move up the levels the opposition gets bigger and better, you have to be a bit more careful and a bit more defensive. Those are things we are working on behind the scenes as things heat up we may have to bring them into play.
“If I can entertain and get the win, brilliant but I’m aware not every fight is going to be like that. There will be times where I might have to switch it up.”
Dunlop also confirms that conditionally they don’t just train for an early night. Speaking ahead of the IBO world title fight he adds: “He has knocked his last six opponents out but going into every one of those fights he has been ready for a 12 round war and it’s the same this fight. Every fight he is improving.”
“James basically has been training all year round for about three years, he hasn’t stopped. We don’t go all out all the time, so no one is in a better condition as James Tennyson. He gives everything 100 percent, he doesn’t short-change himself, he knows what is at stake. He is at this game since he is seven years of age and it’s always been his ambition to win a world title, he fights for one Saturday night and he is going to win it.”
Photo Credit Mark Robinson Matchroom