Boxing

Irish contender James Tennyson is hoping everyone will know his name in Boston

James Tennyson being put through his paces by Tony Dunlop

“SOMETIMES you wanna go, where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came,” as yer man out of Cheers used to sing.

Work commitments permitting, I plan to visit that famous Boston watering-hole over the next couple of days and I will be pleasantly surprised (and a bit concerned) if anybody has ever heard tell of me, or (to a lesser extent) James Tennyson, the man I’m here to watch fight for the IBF super-featherweight world title.

Truth be told, there aren’t that many outside of the boxing fraternity who have heard of James back home.

I got the usual responses when I told people I was bound for Boston.

Everybody: ‘Wha? Away again? Where you for now?’

Me: ‘Boston.’

Them: ‘You’ve some time of it! Who’s fightin?’

Me: ‘James Tennyson.’

Them (with a puzzled look): ‘Who?’

Tennyson will change all that by knocking Tevin Farmer spark out at the TD Garden on Saturday night and he’s well capable of doing it.

Belfast born, Belfast based and Belfast trained and managed, he has come up the hard way, without that much live TV and publicity. His manager Mark Dunlop has brought him through on non-profit small hall shows. Mark writes his own press releases and is unfailingly grateful to anyone who uses them which, believe me, is rare.

But even with all that Irish News coverage, his Philadelphian opponent Farmer didn’t recognise Tennyson when they met in Boston to announce this fight a couple of months ago.

His coach asked the Poleglass wrecking ball: “What weight do you fight at?”

“Psssst, he’s the opponent,” whispered someone before handshakes ensued but it’s fair to say that Farmer doesn’t expect much of a challenge on Saturday night.

The first time I covered a James Tennyson fight was almost five years ago to the day when he fought an unknown Latvian journeyman at what was then known as the Odyssey Arena (it’s the SSE Arena these days) on the undercard of Carl Frampton (who was a Cyclone Promotions fighter back then) against Jeremy Parodi (who I hear is now running a moderately successful bouncy castle hire company outside Lille).

Tennyson was expected to brush Senkovs aside but in my preview I tipped (it was a misprint) the Latvian to win and I had a few awkward conversations with Tennyson fans before the fight. I didn’t know Senkovs could speak English but he must have read the preview and, obviously inspired by my faith in him, he caught Tennyson in the second round and left him unconscious in a neutral corner. The local man had to be carried out of the ring.

After predicting the shock result I was greeted as a mystic soothsayer by some of my colleagues, but it was – I have to admit – a complete and utter fluke.

 

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got (Italics)

It’s a long way back from a loss like but Tennyson recovered some ground and the unrelated Dunlops Mark (manager) and Tony (coach) kept the faith. They got him a British featherweight title shot against Ryan Walsh in London a couple of years later.

But the opportunity came to soon and Walsh outclassed him that night at the Copper Box in London, stopping him before the fight even reached the halfway stage.

Q. How do you recover from that?

A. Move up a weight and develop into, as Tony Dunlop puts it: “A world class puncher”.

Last year Tennyson was matched with slick-boxing Dubliner Graham Geraghty and this time he was ready.

Geraghty out-boxed him early on but ‘the Assassin’ dropped him with a right hand and then finished the job with a booming left hook. Ryan Doyle, Darren Treanor Arnoldo Solano all went the same away and those wins got Tennyson a shot at Martin J Ward’s Commonwealth and EBU titles in London in May.

Matchroom Boxing goldenboy Ward had him down early on but he got back up and, after that, it was ‘Kill’, baby kill’. Tennyson finished Ward off before the end of the fifth and so I’m off to Boston to see how he gets on against Farmer.

Once again he’s the underdog but he has TNT in his hands and if he connects… Well, I’ll see yiz all in Cheers (work commitments permitting of course).

You wanna be where you can see our troubles are all the same; You wanna be where everybody knows your name…

 

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