Weight change confirmed for James Tennyson – Dunlop makes rankings request

James Tennyson‘s expected move up to lightweight has been officially confirmed.

The Poleglass puncher enjoyed a sensational 2017 and 2018, winning an Irish, Commonwealth, and European titles as well as picking up the WBA International rankings belt in the super featherweight [130lbs] division.

This would all lead to a shot at IBF champion Tevin Farmer in Boston back in October where Tennyson was stopped in the fifth round and ‘The Assassin’ made his return earlier this month.

Weighing in at a career-highest 137lbs, and looking strong, super featherweight never looked likely again and Tennyson [23(19)-3(3)] suggested as much following his two-round demolition of Garry Neale.

READ: James Tennyson targeting Matchroom lightweights

Today it has been confirmed that 25-year-old Tennyson has relinquished the Commonwealth belt and is being reclassified to lightweight [135lbs] ahead of his next outing – an undercard spot on the ‘Clash of the Titans’ card at the National Stadium in Dublin on March 30th.

Tennyson’s manager explained how “the Commonwealth Boxing Council, British Boxing Board of Control, European Boxing Union, and the four main boxing affiliations WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO were notified last Sunday that James was vacating all titles held in the 130lbs super featherweight division. ”

“All the above governing bodies have been asked for James to be rated in their lightweight divisions. He is still only 25 years old and has fought for every major belt at both featherweight and super featherweight in his career.”

The fight boss, who also works with Paul Hyland Jr, Feargal McCrory, Tommy McCarthy, and Cathy McAleer, noted how “James is still developing as a fighter, he is young, fresh, improving, and still filling out.”

“He has achieved what 99.9% fighters will never achieve in the sport of professional boxing and is really only getting started.”

Tennyson’s coach Tony Dunlop [no relation to Mark] added that “Tennyson is a boy turning into a man.”

“Clearly he was outgrowing the super featherweight division and we all feel it’s a wise move to move up and continue the next chapter at 135lbs.”

“True punchers carry their power with them and James proved that in his last contest.”

The fighter himself is happy with the move, and described how “I feel that prior to the Neale fight, a lot of my previous camps over the last three fights were focused on making weight.”

“I believe the extra five pounds will give me an edge as my career continues to progress. The lightweight division is exciting and I can’t wait to get out again and prove what I can do.”

The Irish title at lightweight is held by Feargal McCrory but the Coalisland southpaw is expected to move back down to super featherweight in his next contest.

British title honours are currently in the possession of outright champ Lewis Ritson, while Belgian Francesco Patera holds the European belt and Welsh Olympian Joe Cordina the Commonwealth.

The world champions at 135lbs are Ukrainian legend Vasyl Lomachenko who holds the WBA and WBO, Ghanaian Richard Commey who has the IBF, and Mikey Garcia with the WBC – although he has jumped to welter to face Errol Spence Jr and most feel will never return to lightweight.


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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