Boxing

I haven't 'missed the boat' says world title prospect James Tennyson

James Tennyson stops Darren Traynor in October

WORLD title shots don't come along that often, but James Tennyson insists he hasn't “missed the boat” after he turned down the chance to fight WBC super-featherweight Miguel Berchelt.

Tennyson, who tops the bill at the Europa Hotel on Saturday night, is currently ranked number four with the WBA and is confident that a shot at their champion Alberto Machado could be made for some time in 2018.

“It's going to be a big year,” said the hammer-handed Belfast Kronk fighter (20-2).

“I'm highly ranked with them and there are some big fights in the pipeline.”

Focussing on the proposed Berchelt fight, he added: “I want to fight no matter what.

“It was a big opportunity but it was out of my control because there were other opponents in the pipeline. I have a team that deals with all that and they dealt with it and the fight didn't come off.

“But it's good to be getting a mention for big fights like that, it means I've made good progress and I need to keep working away and the big fights will come. I don't think I've missed the boat, that was the WBC and I'm highly ranked with the WBA so I'm pretty sure my shot with them is going to come up shortly. We'll see what happens throughout the year.”

Tennyson lost a British title challenge to experienced Norfolk man Ryan Walsh in 2016, but rebounded with three inside-the-distance wins last year, picking up the Irish and WBA International super-featherweight titles along the way. His Irish title knockout win over Dublin southpaw Declan Geraghty at the Waterfront Hall was a massive boost to his confidence.

“The power I have is something that has developed as I've grown into my body and matured a bit,” said Tennyson.

“I didn't really work on it, it just fell into place itself. Beating Geraghty last year kick-started the year for me and set me off to three big wins.”

With his stock on the rise, it is no surprise that he has fighters queueing up to take him on and Dubliner Jono Carroll is the latest to call out ‘the Assassin'.

“He's trying to get a shot so I take it with a pinch of salt,” said Tennyson.

“If it made sense to my team I would take it, but it's out of my control – it would be down to Mark (Dunlop, his manager) and Tony Dunlop (coach). I wouldn't say too much unless the fight was going to happen.”

With so much to fight for, Tennyson cannot afford to slip up against unpredictable Nicaraguan Arnoldo Solano on Saturday night. With 14 wins and 14 losses on his record, Solano obviously mixes good nights with bad ones and that makes him a dangerous proposition at the Europa.

“I've trained hard, I've had a good camp and I won't be taking any prisoners,” said Tennyson.

“I haven't looked into him too much so I don't really know what to expect. I'll go out open-minded and take it as it comes.”

Chief support on Saturday night is Coalisland prospect Feargal McCrory who faces durable Spain-based Nicaraguan in Rafael Castillo. Meanwhile, Daniel ‘Insane' McShane makes his ring return after three years in a rematch with Zoltan Horvath, the man who took his unbeaten record in the Belfast man's record.

“It's an exciting contest with guaranteed fireworks,” said promoter Mark Dunlop.

“Dundee man Ronnie ‘The Shark' Clark squares up to England's Dean Evans and the Scotsman knows he is in line for a major title shot this year and can leave no room for error.

“Lucas Ballingall (8-0), the much touted Portsmouth super featherweight shows know fear as he takes on fellow unbeaten prospect Karl Kelly from Dublin in what looks a real tear up to keep their unbeaten records.

“Newtownards man Stevie Quinn Jnr also makes a competitive comeback after two years out against the experienced Nicaraguan Edwin Tellez.”

Weigh in 2.30pm Friday at the Europa Hotel, all welcome. For last remaining tickets: Reserved ringside £45 (limited), unreserved £35, 07712473905, email: info@mhdpromotions.com

THE shooting outside the National Stadium in Dublin last Friday will have done nothing for the prospects of a major professional boxing bill being staged in the city this summer.

Two men were shot – one was a British student in his 20s with no links to criminality - in what Gardaí described as a “reckless and indiscriminate” incident they are treating as attempted murder.

The shooting could put paid to talks of a high-profile pro bill on the Liffey, possibly at Dalymount Park, the home of Bohemians FC.

Speaking last week, Dublin coach Paschal Collins said he thought the return of major fight nights to Dublin was imminent.

“I'm sure there will be a bill in Dublin in the summer,” said Collins.

“I can't see why they can't come up with a similar scenario to the shows they're doing in England at the minute.

“They could have an outdoor show in Belfast or Dublin with Ryan Burnett or Katie Taylor. I think something like that will happen.

“The Aviva or Croke Park would be too big, but Dalymount Park would be a good venue.

“Charlie Nash fought and Dalymount Park (in 1981) and Barry McGuigan made his debut on that card. I was there at it. Charlie got knocked out defending his European title.”

AMIR Khan will take on Phil Lo Greco when he makes his highly-anticipated ring return after almost two years out of action on April 21 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

The bout marks the start of Khan's three-fight deal with promoters Matchroom Boxing and the first since his savage knockout defeat to then WBC middleweight champion Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in May 2016.

Khan will step down in weight when he faces Lo Greco in a showdown that has been made just above the welterweight threshold at 149lb, with a maximum of 150lb.

Lo Greco (28-3) has shared the ring with current IBF champion Errol Spence Jr and former belt-holder Shawn Porter, both of whom defeated the Canadian.

Khan, 31, said: "I can't wait to get back into the ring. Phil Lo Greco will be coming with everything to win this fight and I'm not going to give him an inch.

“He's an aggressive fighter who is always looking to press the fight and come forward. That makes for a very exciting and action-packed fight for the fans.

“He's shared the ring with the likes of Spence Jr and Porter, so he's operated at the highest level. I respect him as a fighter and know he will be coming with big ambitions but I'm going to put on a great performance and prove to the boxing world that the ‘King' is well and truly back."

Lo Greco, two years Khan's senior, has already commenced the mind games with the Briton, who has a record of 31 wins and four defeats in the paid ranks, with three of those losses coming via stoppage.

Lo Greco said: "I'm happy Amir decided to yank up his skirt and end his long-going tea party. It was time he manned up. I've got a full training camp this time around, there will be no room for error. Amir Khan will be knocked out.

“I've noticed Amir loves going more to Dubai, so I'll send him to Du-bai, and he'll go bub-bye, ?AmirGONE. Boxing teaches us, history repeats itself. Once you're knocked out cold, it only gets worse.”

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