March 3, 2024

Dragon Esdelsur

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Recharged James Tennyson determined to clinch world title in chapter two

AFTER 10 years of almost constant training, James Tennyson decided the time had come to take a break but the two-weight world title challenger is back in training now and he predicts that the second chapter of his career will eclipse the first.

That’s not going to straightforward because, hammer-handed Tennyson won belt after championship belt in his first decade in the opening decade of his career.

British, Commonwealth, WBA International at super-featherweight and lightweight, two Irish titles, the Celtic title… ‘Tenny’ blasted his way to a lot of success but the world title he craves eluded him and that’s the one he has set his sights on after he returned to training. There were rumours that the family man had considered hanging up his gloves but he quickly put them to bed.

“There’s still plenty more to go,” he said.

“A break was needed, I was training before Christmas but no fight came about so I said: ‘Do you know what? I’m going to take a wee break here…’ It’s my first break in about 10 years since I signed pro.

“I wouldn’t say I felt stale, everything was good but I just needed some time off. Over the last 10 years I’ve probably had no more than a week and-a-half off so I’ve been having a bit of time with the family and taking it easy but I’m back training now, getting the weight off and getting the fitness back up and I’ll see what’s happening from there.”

Still just 28, Tennyson (28-4) will return in his physical prime and he’s determined to avenge those world title losses to Tevin Farmer (IBF super-featherweight in 2018) and to Giovanni Straffon (IBO lightweight) in May last year.

“I need to get the fitness up and get the momentum going again because obviously I’ve had a bit of time out, so I’ll need one or two comeback fights to get the momentum going again and then push on for titles,” he said.

He hasn’t made a decision on what division he will be campaigning in. It could be lightweight, possibly light-welterweight, but one thing is for sure – his super-featherweight days are long gone.

“It depends on how the weight comes down when I get back to full camp,” he said.

“It will be between lightweight and light-welter. Getting back up to world title level is the plan so, with a bit of time off and a bit of time to reflect I’m back, and I think you’ll see an all-round better fighter. I’ve still got high hopes of winning a world title – that’s always the aim.

“It’s just about getting a couple of wins and getting the momentum going again, I’ll have to work my way back into the game again and then push up the rankings again.

“There’s plenty of big fights out there at the minute whether it’s lightweight or light-welter and I’m looking forward to getting into it. All being well I’m aiming for around the summer-time but when you’re eating what you want and drinking what you want you enjoy it so it’ll take a while to get match-fit again.”

At his best, Tennyson was easily Ireland’s biggest-punching fighter and certainly one of the hardest hitters in Europe. He singles out his upset against Matchroon goldenboy Martin J Ward in London four years ago as his best so far.

“I went over as the away fighter into the lion’s den,” he says.

“I caused a big shock and won the European and Commonwealth belts and defended my WBA title. That’s probably my career-best win so far.

“Gavin Gwynne (British lightweight title) was up there too. He gave a real good account of himself last time out, he showed what he’s all about but I handled him pretty well when we fought in Eddie Hearn’s garden so that was another great win for me along the way.”

As for disappointments, he’s had a few of those as well. Bodyshots and weight struggles were his undoing against Farmer in Boston but the loss to unheralded Mexican Straffon last time out is the one that really sticks in his craw.

“That one eats me up because I know I lost the fight down to my own stupidity,” he says.

“I was told not to do what I did and I went out and stood and started trading away. I was swinging bombs from the word go.

“I was told to be smart and box and if I had done that I’d probably be IBO champion of the world now. It’s one of those things, you live and you learn but I’ll have to listen a bit more in future. I love a good scrap and it’s easy to get dragged into one.”

ERIC Donovan will look to bounce back from his loss to Robeisy Ramirez at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Saturday, May 22.

Donovan took on the former Cuba amateur star, who defected to the USA to become a professional fighter, on the undercard of Josh Taylor-Jack Catterall in Glasgow earlier this month and battled bravely until he was stopped by a vicious assault from the two-time Olympic Games gold medal winner.

He tops the bill at the Europa with support from emerging Belfast duo Colm Murphy (2-0) and Ruadhan Farrell who made his debut at the Belfast venue earlier this month.

ROSIE Perez believes Amanda Serrano is going to “rock The Garden” when she faces the undisputed Lightweight champion Katie Taylor on Saturday, April 30 at Madison Square Garden, New York.

Actress Perez has been a long-time supporter of Serrano, her fellow Brooklynite and proud Puerto Rican, and the ‘Do The Right Thing’ star is thrilled that the seven-weight World champion will be one half of the first ever all-female headline fight at the vaunted Manhattan boxing Mecca.

“When I see Amanda Serrano step into the ring April 30 at Madison Square Garden, I think I’m going to be in tears,” said Perez.

“I’m going to be screaming ‘Boricua’ and I think half of The Garden will be screaming the same. When someone says Amanda Serrano, I think of a champion. I think of a young woman who is dedicated to her sport. Who’s been knocked around outside the ring in regard to lesser pay, who’s going to have her moment of her career come April 30 at Madison Square Garden. It’s just so exciting. I’m so happy for her. She’s going to rock The Garden.”