Boxing

James Tennyson targets British lightweight title victory over Gavin Gwynne

James Tennyson and his coach at the Belfast Kronk gym Tony Dunlop. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Andy Watters

JAMES Tennyson has blasted out four opponents at lightweight to earn a shot at the vacant British title on August 1 and ‘the Assassin’ is confident that victory over Welshman Gavin Gwynne will put him in the frame for a world title shot at 135lbs.

Heavy-handed, Tony Dunlop-trained Tennyson has 22 stoppage wins from 29 fights (26-3) and will duck through the ropes at the ‘Matchroom Fight Camp’ (in the grounds of Eddie Hearn’s family home) fully confident of moving on towards a second world title fight.

His first, in Boston against IBF super-featherweight champion Tevin Farmer back in October 2018, ended in a stoppage loss but Tennyson admitted afterwards that he was struggling at the weight and his move up to lightweight certainly suits him better.

Tennyson was due to face Gwynne at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff in May before Covid-19 put the sporting world on hold, but now gets the opportunity to make it two KOs in-a-row over Welsh opponents following his 11th round stoppage win over Craig Evans.

"My last few fights at super-featherweight were starting to really push me on the weight as the fights went on," admitted Tennyson.

"The Tevin Farmer fight was one fight too many with doing the weight. I’m a natural lightweight now, it’s not a push or a struggle to do the weight. I’m feeling strong, fit and healthy at the weight.

“Things have gone from strength-to-strength for me with four straight knockout wins so the move up in weight has done me good.

“Not cutting that extra few pounds is really helping my performances, I’m a lot stronger at the weight which makes a big difference. My record shows that I’m one of the hardest-hitting lightweights in the division at the minute.

“I prepare for 12 hard rounds, but of course I’ll always be looking for that moment where you can just end the fight. My experience and my power will be a big factor in the fight. It always presents itself at some stage, it’s just when that opportunity arises, whether it’s round one or round 12, I’ll jump on it.

The sole loss in Gwynne’s 12-1 career came in his previous challenge for the British lightweight belt in August last year. Joe Cordina won that on unanimous decision and the 30-year-old goes into the fight at the Matchroom Fight Camp lacking Tennyson’s elite level experience and – with only two stoppage wins from his 13 fights – he won’t be able to match the Belfast fighter’s punching power.

"This is a massive fight for my career,” said Tennyson.

“Gavin is a real tough lad. We’re both two come forward fighters and I believe that our styles are going to gel. It’s going to be a good war and I feel like this is a must-win fight for me. I’ll be ready come fight night.

“You can’t look past Gavin because he’s a big tough guy but down the line I want another World Title shot. Get this one out of the way and I’ll start chasing that down."

SEAN McComb and Siar Ozgul have sparred many a round against each other and but they’ll do it for real on August 11 when unbeaten McComb (10-0) goes up against Ozgul (15-4) at the LS-Live arena in Wakefield, England.

"I thought lockdown was never going to end,” said McComb.

“I've been ticking over and working on new things. The last fight against Godoy was another step up in class and a big fight on paper. We really worked hard for a number of weeks before that fight, and the performance showed that.

"Ozgul is coming down from welterweight and I'm back at super-lightweight after planning to go to lightweight, so it's like he is two weights above me. He's tough fighter and a come-forward, aggressive fighter, but we've been working on a good game plan and we'll be ready to go come fight night.

"It will be very different fighting in front of no fans, but we have to adapt and as boxers that's what we do. We spar most evenings with barely anybody in the gym, so that's what it's going to be like on the night."

JONO Carroll headlines the MTK Fight Night in Wakefield on August 11 determined to continue his world title charge against experienced Maxi Hughes.

Hughes has been in with some quality fighters in his decade as a professional and went the distance with former Gervonta Davis challenger Liam Walsh last year before returning to winning ways against Kris Pilkington before the Covid-19 lockdown.

His scrap with warrior Carroll is the headline act on the bill and Carroll intends to take up where he left off after he blasted out former super-bantamweight world champion Scott Quigg in a one-sided fight in March. In truth, Quigg looked a pale shadow of the fighter who stopped Kiko Martinez and went the distance with Carl Frampton and Carroll never allowed him to establish a foothold in the fight.

“It's topping the bill again, so this is what dreams are made of and why I started boxing in the first place,” said ‘King Kong’.

“The fact that it's an MTK Global show makes it even better, so I'm looking forward to putting on another classic performance.

"The Quigg fight went exactly how me and my trainer (Pascal Collins) planned it. It was an easy night's work and easier than expected. We put so much hard work and graft in the gym, and we were well prepared.”

He admits that he hasn’t watched much of Hughes in action – “two minutes of him and that's it”. Carroll doesn’t tend to study other fighters, he prefers to concentrate on his own form and go to work with his all-action, pressing style.

"You can watch and think do this and do that, but it doesn't matter,” he said.

“I just let my trainer do the investigating, then he gives me the game plan and I'll do what he tells me. It means I don't get mentally exhausted thinking about what punches I need to throw.

"I've had some quality time at home with the family over the last three months, so it's been fantastic. I've still always been training in the garden at home, but it allowed me to take the break I truly needed. Now I'm excited to be back."

On the undercard, Pierce O'Leary faces Harry Limburn.

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Boxing