Lightweight wrecking ball James Tennyson primed for world title challenge

James Tennyson will face Mexican Jovanni Straffon in Manchester on Saturday, May 1 .Picture By Mark Robinson.
Andy Watters

A CLEAN shot from IBO world title challenger James Tennyson has been too much for every one of his opponents since his move up to lightweight.

Tennyson, who will face Mexican Jovanni Straffon (23-2-1) for the vacant IBO Lightweight belt on the undercard of Derek Chisora versus Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday, May 1 (live on Sky Sports Box Office) goes into the fight on the back of a six-fight stoppage streak since he stepped up from super-featherweight in 2018.

That move came after Tennyson lost his first world title challenge to Tevin Farmer in Boston but since then the Twinbrook native has looked unstoppable at 135lbs and he further enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting contenders by taking out Canada's Josh O'Reilly inside a round last time out on the Billy Joe Saunders versus Martin Murray undercard in December.

‘The Assassin', 27, produced a ferocious display before the WBA World Title Eliminator was stopped by referee Marcus McDonnell after two minutes and 14 seconds.

“Winning the IBO World title will be a dream come true for me,” said Tony Dunlop-trained Tennyson.

“I have worked my whole life for this moment. This is my big opportunity to complete my collection of belts. I've won Irish, Celtic, British, Commonwealth, European and two WBA titles. All that's missing is a world title.

“The other guys holding belts at lightweight haven't been putting their belts on the line against each other. Winning the IBO will hopefully dangle a carrot in front of the other world champions and entice them into a big unification fight. I'm expecting a tough fight, Mexican's are well known for their toughness so I'll have to bring my A game.”

He should get the tough fight he expects against Mexico's Straffon who has notched 23 wins since turning professional in December 2010, with 16 of those wins coming inside the distance for the 27-year-old southpaw from Torreon.

‘Impacto' has lost just three times in 27 fights and has never been stopped.

“I've been working hard for many years to get a fight like this,” said Straffon.

“I will not waste it. I will go up in the ring thinking about my two little daughters and how I need to win this for them.

“Maybe if I win, Eddie Hearn will want to work with me and my team in the future.”

Meanwhile, Liam Williams has promised promoter Frank Warren that he'll become his 149th World Champion by “smashing” WBO World Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade this weekend.

Mandatory challenger Williams (23-2-1) faces unbeaten Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) in Miami on Saturday, following a tense build-up where both men have chucked verbal artillery.

"I am going to smash his face in on Saturday night and do some serious damage,” said a typically-forthright Williams.

“When he is in with lower level fighters he has a bit of time to fuss around and do that stuff. I am going to be in his face giving it to him.

“You won't see any showboating or fussing around from Andrade because he will be under too much pressure.

“I don't think he will cope with my intensity. I am going to hit him and hurt him regularly as well. He will be doing the running. Everybody says Andrade has underestimated me, but he isn't a silly man. He is a three-time world champion for a reason.

“He has seen me, he knows what I brings to the table and I don't think he will be dumb enough to underestimate me because he knows what I bring.”

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