The 25-year-old put in a brave performance against IBF super featherweight world title holder Tevin Farmer but saw his world title dream ended as referee Arthur Mercante stopped the contest in the fifth round folloi.
‘Tenny’ got up off the canvas after being hurt to the body in the fourth and battled brilliantly to stay on his feet after another body blow in the following round caused him to momentarily fall into a mini squat.
Farmer did eventually force the Belfast fighter to consult the canvas a few moments later with a third sensatonal left hand and the ref deemed it time to call a halt to proceedings.
Tennyson was rising to his feet after another well-timed body shot and would have beaten a ten-count were one given but the Mercante believed he had seen enough and waved off the world title fight.
The Irish fighter protested briefly in the ring and this has been followed up by similar disagreements from his team who noted how the Poleglass boxer was getting back up and that the knockdowns had come from body shots rather than concussive punches upstairs.
Dunlop claims the decision was awful and feels Tennyson, who came back from a third-round body shot knockdown versus Martin J Ward to win in the fifth, should have been given a chance to fight on.
The MHD boss told the Belfast Newsletter that “it was an awful decision and the fight was stopped too early. James was hurt but he has been in worse positions and got up to win the fights.”
“He was getting back up and the referee didn’t even give him a count. This is a world title fight and he should have been given a chance.”
“To stop a world title fight on a body shot when James was clearly getting up was disgraceful, this was the view of many boxing journalists and officials ringside.”
Tennyson’s trainer, Tony Dunlop, echoed the sentiment.
“It was a diabolical decision,” said the Belfast Kronk coach.
“Yes, James was hurt, but he was hurt more badly by Martin J Ward from a body shot and he got up and won the fight.”
“The referee was too quick in stopping the fight. James always starts slowly and he comes on strong. I thought he was starting to get to Farmer and then the referee jumps in and stops the fight.”
While admitting they were ‘gutted’ post-fight, manager Dunlop did point out ‘The Assassin’ is young enough to come again following a bout he feels Tennyson [22(18)-3(3)] was only warming in to.
“James did himself, his family and Belfast proud. He is only 25 years of age so he will be back. We are gutted because the referee stopped the fight too early.”
“Nobody was saying James was infront but he was not out of it.”
“Farmer was good but James was starting to get to him and that was the plan.”