Boxing

Boston bound James Tennyson packs a punch in preparation for world title showdown with Tevin Farmer

Andy Watters

GLOVE connects with pad in a shrill, ear-splitting violence as James Tennyson – world super-featherweight title challenger in Boston next month – worked with coach Tony Dunlop yesterday.

Overhand right, left hook, upper-cut… The Poleglass fighter, who takes on IBF champion Tevin Farmer at the TD Garden, showcased the knockout power he has in both hands in a typically ferocious session at the Belfast Kronk gym in Turf Lodge.

When the buzzer ended the round he took a break and smiled and nodded at spectators. Then he went back to work.

BANG, BANG, BANG…

With one clean shot he has the artillery to blow the Philadelphian away on October 20 but he has to catch up with Farmer for his power to count. Tennyson and his fans are certain that it’s a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’.

Mark Dunlop has been his manager since he first laced up gloves as a professional and has helped to pick him up after losses and keep his feet on the ground after wins.

“He has been with me since he was 18 and in all that time he has never caused me any problems,” said Dunlop.

“In his low times and his high times he has stayed grounded and dedicated and that is why we are all here today. I think the defeats he had (two losses in 24 fights with 18 KO wins) are why has got this opportunity to fight for a world title.

“Believe me, he was a boy when he had those defeats and now he is a man. He’s still only 25 and he has everything ahead of him.

“When you have had a defeat, boxing becomes real because after that every fight is a meaningful fight and James certainly knows how to win a title because he has fought for seven and won six – Irish, Commonwealth, European…

“Matchroom have paid a lot of money to make this happen because Eddie Hearn believes in him and he wanted the Tennyson-Farmer fight.”

Obviously Hearn – who has signed Tennyson on a four-fight deal with input from New York-based promoter Lou DiBella - sees the star potential the uncomplicated Tennyson has.

His ability has been carefully nurtured by manager Dunlop and his trainer Tony Dunlop (no relation) at the Belfast Kronk stable that also produced WBA super-bantamweight champ Ryan Burnett.

“James has what all boxers want which is that knockout power,” said Dunlop.

“He has the power to turn any fight around. We don’t think it’s going to be easy in any way but we know we can get to Farmer and we believe we can take him out and Belfast will have a new world champion.”

He added: “It couldn’t happen to a nicer fella and credit to Tony (Dunlop) who has been here 22 years training kids from Ryan Burnett and Andy Lee. People asked me ‘Should you go to a trainer with more experience?’ but I wouldn’t do this without him and James wouldn’t either.

“We are all in this together as a team and that’s why it’s successful.”

In this new age of boxing when the lines between amateur and professional have become blurred and fighters begin their careers closer to the top than the bottom of the ladder, Tennyson has had to take the old-fashioned route to a world title shot with Dunlop digging deep into his pockets to keep him busy on his own small hall shows at the Europa Hotel.

“It has been expensive,” he said with a smile.

“You couldn’t put a price on it… Well, I could but I won’t. It has been hard but from day one I knew he was special.

“James has done everything the hard way and he has got a world title shot the hard way. I don’t expect any less, I’ve spent more than I could ever get back but I couldn’t get back the nights that these lads have given me.

“Money wouldn’t buy it. This is my passion, I’m enthusiastic about all my fighters and I want to get them what they deserve. I don’t want James to say he has fought for a world title; I want him to win a world title.”

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CARL Frampton has promised “fireworks” when he meets Josh Warrington in Manchester on December 22.

Frampton will travel as the challenger, determined to regain his position as world champion against the 27-year-old IBF title holder from Leeds who outfought Lee Selby to take the title back in May. Frampton fans will travel in force while Warrington also has a vociferous support although Leeds United’s meeting with Aston Villa in Birmingham the same day could have an impact on his ticket sales.

“Me and Warrington have big fan bases that make a lot of noise so I think, first and foremost, the atmosphere is going to be fantastic and possibly a bit hostile as well,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot more in my career than I thought I would have when I turned professional. I’m very proud of my career but I believe I still have more to give and want to keep going as long as I can. I will add my fourth world title and go on and unify again.

“You’re going to see two hungry guys in their prime, Warrington has just won this world title and isn’t going to give it up easily. I know what it’s like to be a world champion and I want that feeling back again, I think there is going to be fireworks in this fight.”

Undefeated 27-year-old Warrington (27-0) has been at ringside for three of Frampton’s last four fights so he’ll know exactly what to expect on December 22.

“The Frampton fight really appeals to me and it will be another big scalp for me,” he said.

“I went over to Windsor Park to watch Carl fight a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have gone over there if I wasn’t interested in the fight.

“There were easier routes I could have taken like having a voluntary. Frampton and Selby in the same year would be a massive achievement.

“It's about keeping the momentum going and I just believe I can beat Carl. I am just as confident in beating Carl as I was beating Lee [Selby]. These are fights that the British public want to see, I’m a world champion and when you are world champion you want to fight the best and Carl is a name who is up there.”

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Boxing trainer Enzo Calzaghe, the father of former world champion Joe, has died at the age of 69, his family have announced.

CHAMPION boxing trainer Enzo Calzaghe has died at the age of 69, his family have announced.

Calzaghe coached his son Joe to world titles at two different weights in an undefeated 46-fight career.

His family said in a statement: "The family are devastated to have to announce the death of our beloved Enzo.

"Joe and all of the Calzaghe family would like to thank the public for their well wishes and kind thoughts, especially the outpouring of support from within the boxing community.

"Enzo led an incredible life both inside and outside of the boxing gym and his loss is a devastating one for the entire Calzaghe family.

"We please ask that people respect our privacy at this difficult time."

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