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James Tennyson eyes title shot after brutal win

 

Vicious shots: James Tennyson catches Atif Shafiq during their fight
Vicious shots: James Tennyson catches Atif Shafiq during their fight
Vasyl Lomachenko
David Kelly

By David Kelly

James Tennyson looks to be on course for a shot at the British and Commonwealth lightweight titles following his brutal second round victory over Atif Shafiq at the O2 Arena on Saturday night.

The Belfast man once again demonstrated his explosive power as he cut down Shafiq to land the WBA international lightweight belt, which should also push him into the top 15 in the governing body.

On the same card, headlined by World champion Vasyl Lomachenko's points win over Luke Campbell, British and Commonwealth champion Joe Cordina retained his belts with a points win over Gavin Gwynne.

Manager Mark Dunlop said that Tennyson will now have a final eliminator with Craig Evans with the winner going on to challenge Cordina. Both Cordina and Tennyson are promoted by Eddie Hearn so the bout will be easy to make.

While Cordina is the main focus for Tennyson, Hearn did suggest that the former world title challenger has other options and didn't rule out a bout that could push him further up the world rankings.

"James Tennyson is a very exciting TV fighter and he could have the final eliminator or he may even have the chance of a good fight in the States," said Hearn.

"He's a real puncher and he showed that again. He's going to be handful for anybody at lightweight and he's not afraid to face anyone. Whoever he's offered he will take on."

Tennyson said he was "delighted" with the victory and admitted that the move up from super-featherweight to lightweight was overdue as he now feels much stronger at the higher division.

"I just had to be patient. He was a tricky opponent, hard to hit," said Tennyson. "My super-featherweight days are long gone. I made the new weight healthy, and I felt good."

Meanwhile, superstar Lomachenko retained his WBA and WBO World lightweight titles and added the WBC belt to his collection when he came through a tougher test than expected with Hull man Campbell.

Lomachenko is now aiming to get his hands on the IBF belt in order to unify the lightweight division before moving back down to super-featherweight. While the Ukrainian, arguably the best pound for pound fighter on the planet, is the best lightweight on the planet it is clear that he is small for the division.

Having received a great reception by the UK fans, Lomachenko stated: "I promise I will come back to the UK."

Campbell had nothing but praise for his conqueror, saying: "He's just beat me, so he's very good, he's a special fighter.

"I can go on and achieve anything. Tonight was Lomachenko's night, but my time will come.

"I don't care who I go up against, I want those belts.

"I do believe I got a lot better from that performance.

"I learned a few tricks in there myself, from Loma. I'll add them to my style."

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