“Why Not?” – Team Tennyson open to World Title opportunity

Mark Dunlop sees no reason why James Tennyson [19(15)-2(2)] shouldn’t dream big and set his sights on a World title fight.

Indeed, ‘The Assassin’s’ manager is adamant the Irish and Celtic champion and British title challenger will be plotting a course that will lead to current WBA super featherweight strap holder Jezreel Corrales.

The Belfast 24 year old might seem a few good wins off securing a shot, but his WBA #5 ranking means a title tilt isn’t an unattainable pipe dream.

Tennyson claimed the ranking with his WBA International title win against Ryan Doyle on the last Matchroom card in Belfast, and will defend the belt on the next show.

Here, on Saturday October 21st, he faces Scottish lightweight champion Darren Traynor at the SSE Odyssey Arena on the Burnett-Zhakiyanov undercard.

Dunlop sees it as a chance to move closer to one of the unlikelier world title shots for an Irish fighter

“James is ranked number five in the world. People can say your mad but win on October 21st and he takes one more step toward,” the MHD boss told Irish-Boxing.com.

“Jezreel Corrales. Why not? Every kids dream is to fight for a World title and we are eligible now.”

“He is in the top five and if he takes his opportunities why not? If we get the chance we will have a go. Corrales wouldn’t be the strongest of fighters so we would have a go.”

Tennyson himself is almost in disbelief at his lofty placing, and noted how “it’s a generous position, but I’ll take it!”

“I’ve never thought about it, I never thought I’d be sitting at #5 with the WBA, it’s a good strong position to be in.”

“It gives me a massive confidence boost. Another defence or two and I could end up with my own shot!

“I’ve never even had a look at the champion Corrales. I’ll have to have a look at him soon, who knows? With a bit of luck, I could end up with a shot.”

Panamanian Corrales [22(8)-1(0)] won the belt in a shock second round knockout upset against Takashi Uchiyama last year. He defended the belt in a rematch with the Japanese fighter before defeating Robinson Castellanos on a close technical decision this Summer.


Ranked ahead of Tennyson are former secondary titlists Javier Fortuna and Jesus Cuellar, unbeaten Ghanaian Rafael Mensah, and unbeaten Puerto Rican Alberto Machado.

To continue dreaming of the very top Tennyson first has to overcome Traynor, a fighter he was due to face in February 2016.

Dunlop seems confident the Belfast Kronk fighter will have too much for the Scot but does warn against complacency.

“Both fought Ryan Walsh, both lost in the fifth round. You could argue who done the better, but who is better we will see on the night.”

“James is #5 in the World people can argue that too, but it doesn’t matter that is his ranking and this kid will be coming to try and take that.

The Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard features Paul Hyland v Stephen Ormond, Tyrone McKenna v Tommy Coyle, James Tennyson v Darren Traynor, Feargal McCrory, Jay Byrne, and Josh Kelly, with more still to be announced.

Tickets for the night cost £30, £40, £60, £100, £150 (VIP), and are available from the boxers involved or through HERE

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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: joneill6@tcd.ie