Boxing

James Tennyson bound for Boston for world title rumble with Tevin Farmer

James Tennyson takes on Tevin Farmer for the IBF super-featherweight title in Boston on October 20
Andy Watters

DEFEATS are only defeats if you don’t learn from them and James Tennyson has taken his thumps and battled back to the brink of a world title.

The inspirational, heavy-handed Poleglass native who meets IBF super-featherweight champion Tevin Farmer in Boston on October 20 lost early on in his career against an unknown journeyman and was stopped by Ryan Walsh in a British title scrap back in 2016.

But those losses drove him on to work harder and since that Walsh loss Belfast Kronk fighter Tennyson has cut down challenger after challenger to climb the rankings. Stopping defending champion Martin J Ward in London in May paved the way for this title shot.

‘The Assassin’ was superb that night in the O2 and relieved Ward of his Commonwealth and EBU belts that night, adding the WBA International strap for good measure. Now he has Farmer in his sights and the Philadelphian should be concerned because ‘Tenny’ has knockout power in both hands. When he catches him clean, he will do serious damage to his prospects at the TD Garden venue.

“I’ve fought hard to get here,” said Tennyson.

“It’s well deserved and I’m over the moon with it.”

Farmer, 26-4-1, lost a contentious split decision to Kenichi Ogawa in November last year. Ogawa later tested positive for a banned substance meaning the bout was reclassified as a non-contest and Farmer went on to win the vacant title against Australian Billy Dib earlier this month.

He is a slick and elusive switch-hitter but isn’t regarded as a dangerous puncher at this level and Tennyson knows he has the power to win the fight.

“I’ll be going over very confident and very determined and I feel like I will beat this guy,” he said.

“I’m not going to say it will be easy, it’s a world title fight so it definitely won’t be, and I’ll put in a good, hard camp and go over confident that I can walk away with the title.

“He’s very skilful, he’s very good on the move and he’s good at making you miss. But he can be very easily caught and every time I get in close I’ll be making him pay. I believe honestly that when I go over there I’m going to win the title.”

Crossing the Atlantic to win the IBF belt would put Tennyson’s name up there with the likes of Carl Frampton, Andy Lee, Wayne McCullough and, most recently, TJ Doheny who added his name to short and prestigious list of Irish fighters who have won world titles overseas.

“It’s going to be massive,” said Tennyson.

“It’ll be a huge achievement. This is where it’s at, it’s every boxers’ dream and I am absolutely, completely buzzing about it, I can’t really describe it.

“Mark Dunlop (his manager) and Eddie Hearn were trying to get it made but I didn’t think it would happen this quick. They told me there was chance I could get the fight and two days’ later it was all done.

“I was like ‘this is brilliant, I’ve got something solid to work for here’. It’s going to be the biggest fight that I’ve been in to date and winning it is going to be the biggest achievement.”

Tennyson and his coach Tony Dunlop will be based at the Kronk and they’ll bring sparring partners in as they prepare for the Boston rumble.

“I’ve started from nothing and worked my way up to a world title fight,” he said.

“I’ve come from ground level and worked hard to get to where I am. You have to learn from your losses, without a doubt. I’ve had two losses and they were crucial, I think they actually a blessing because you have to sit yourself down, regroup and then get back to working hard – working on your weaknesses.

“Without losing I might never have found them so I think it was a blessing get losses early on. We’ve regrouped and done a brilliant job of getting back up the ladder.”

Ticket information: Ticket prices for Farmer versus Tennyson range from $40 to $200. Contact Mark Dunlop on 07712473905 to purchase.

WITH the dust now settled on his defeat to KO loss Cristofer Rosales, Paddy Barnes is determined to force his way back into world title contention.

Barnes slugged it out with the heavy-handed Nicaraguan at Windsor Park but a wicked fourth round bodyshot ended his brave challenge for the WBC flyweight title. Barnes was unable to beat the count but insists he is down but not out.

“An hour later I looked at the Whatsapp group chat and the boys were asking if it was too early to slag me about getting beat,” he said with a laugh.

“I love the craic. Obviously I was devastated I lost but because I’m a happy person, it’s helped me getting over the defeat faster than I probably should have.

“It was warming up to be a good fight and then unfortunately that happened in the fourth round and ended the fight.”

Fighting for a world title in only his sixth professional fight proved to be a bridge too far for Barnes. He threw himself into a war that suited the heavier puncher when perhaps he could have conserved his energy and used his superior skillset to frustrate the defending champion. The flip side is that the exposure of fighting live on TV at a packed Windsor Park has added to his fanbase.

“I’ve a lot more fans than before because there were a lot more people watching it,” he said.

“They saw the same kind of style and he caught me with a lucky or unlucky shot.

“Coming home from Windsor Park with the WBC representative and he said I was two rounds ahead – albeit the fight was only just starting and the pace wasn’t that high.”

Barnes will be back in action before the end of the year and will look for another world title shot next year. The double Olympic Games medallist is convinced he belongs at the highest level.

“Rosales could’ve caught me with that shot in the 12th round and it would’ve been the same thing but I do feel I’m at that level,” he said.

“Technically I was better. He was tough. People say I can’t punch but I can punch and he just looked at me.

“I’m definitely world level. I want another world title shot in the near future. If I could fight for a world title next, I’m all or nothing so I’d say: ‘Let’s go for it.’”

STEPHEN Ormond is determined to complete a fairytale and win the lightweight world title after climbing off the canvas to outpoint world-ranked George Ashie in Glasgow.

Ormond was felled by the powerful Ghanaian but recovered to return the favour on his way to narrow win on the scorecards – prompting wild scenes of celebration in the ring and in the crowd.

The following night, Jose Pedraza (25-1) deposed Raymundo Beltran (35-8-1) to become WBO world champion and has immediately been challenged by the popular Ormond (26-5).

Ormond said: “I’ve seen Pedraza fight a bit. Now he’s a double world champion so he’s definitely good but I don’t fear him.

“The sooner the better for me. It makes sense for these champions to come out here and fight but I don’t mind where it happens.

“I’ve no fear of any of these champions. I’m just excited to get out there and fight again as soon as possible. I’m eager.

“I don’t know what it is but I’ve always been a hard worker. My mind is now in the game. Mentally I’m in a great place. I believe it’s my destiny to be world champion and with MTK Global I’ll hopefully get the shot.

“I refused to be beaten by Ashie because I know what I’ve got left in me. It’s a new me and I mean that. If I’d listened to people, I’d have given up five years ago. There are fights left in me, let me tell you.

“Pedraza is a champion and I want to fight him. Congratulations to him on his new belt but don’t get too comfortable in it because I’m coming for it.”

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