James Tennyson to headline as boxing returns to iconic Ulster Hall after seven-year break

From left: Paul Hyland jnr, Feargal McCrory, Mark Dunlop (manager), James Tennyson and Tommy McCarthy
Andy Watters

PROFESSIONAL boxing returns to the Ulster Hall after a break of almost seven years when James Tennyson headlines the ‘A night to remember’ show at the iconic Belfast venue on February 9.

Irish fighting legends from Rinty Monaghan through Barry McGuigan and Brian Magee to Carl Frampton have all entertained packed houses at the atmospheric Bedford Street forum and Tennyson will follow in their footsteps when he defends his Commonwealth super-featherweight title against an as yet unnamed opponent.

Tennyson returns to action after losing an IBF world title challenge against mighty impressive defending champion Tevin Farmer in Boston last month. The 25-year-old from Poleglass had his moments in the fight and, although he was ultimately out-gunned on the night, he says he is wiser for the experience.

“I took plenty of positives from it,” said Tennyson yesterday.

“Going to America and fighting for a world title is the highest level of boxing and I just want to pick up where I left off.”

Tennyson was in action in the most recent show at the Ulster Hall, back in February 2012, when he stopped a Hungarian journeyman to record the second win of his fledgling career. Now 22-3, he has mixed with the best domestically and wants to start working his way back to world title level.

“Seven years ago I fought here in my second pro fight, so it will be good to get back in here to defend my title, get back to winning ways and start working my way back up to a world title,” he said.

“I was 19 back then in my second pro fight and full of nerves.

“It was an amazing place to fight and it was packed out that night. The noise in this place is unbelievable, so I’m expecting a great atmosphere.

“I just want to start the year with a good win and be busy after that and I’m sure Mark (Dunlop, manager) has plenty of options for me.

“Eventually I probably will be a lightweight, so Mark has lots of options and I think we will have plenty of things lined-up for 2019.

“Making the super-featherweight for every fight is a push, but how much is it actually taking out of me? It could be a factor, but at the minute I think it’s ok.”

Manager Dunlop added: “There is nothing to stop him dipping his toes into lightweight. I’d say, by next season he will be a full-fledged lightweight, so we will do that.”

Meanwhile, Tyrone McKenna and Lewis Benson went head-to-head and shared some angry words as they weighed for tonight’s super-lightweight rumble at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

Belfast’s McKenna doesn’t agree that fighting in Benson’s backyard is a disadvantage and he intends to stop ‘Kid Caramel’ and pave the way to a successful 2019.

“I don’t believe the noise will be in his favour tomorrow night,” said ‘The Mighty Celt’.

“I’m bringing a big crowd over from Belfast and everyone knows they make some noise.

“I believe I’ll have the louder support on the night and regardless – I’ve fought in American, Birmingham and Dublin before so I know what it’s like to be the away fighter.

“I’m bigger than him. He said he was going to drop down to lightweight before so that shows he shouldn’t be a super-lightweight. I’m naturally physically superior and he’s going to feel the difference on the night.

“This will get me back to winning ways and I then I want to be talked about with the main fighters in the UK and in Europe. I’ve always been vocal in saying I want to fight Ohara Davies and I still do. He’s the main guy I want.''

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