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James Tennyson: I have what it takes to top the bill on a big Belfast boxing night



Gearing up: James Tennyson in training with coach Tony Dunlop for Friday’s bout

Gearing up: James Tennyson in training with coach Tony Dunlop for Friday’s bout

Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Gearing up: James Tennyson in training with coach Tony Dunlop for Friday’s bout

James Tennyson has had a taste of being part of a big night of boxing in Belfast but this Friday he believes he can take a major step towards being the main course.

With Covid restrictions still in place, boxing remains behind closed doors in Northern Ireland but with the hope fans will return in 2021, Tennyson hopes he is at the front of the queue to headline in his home city.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has made it clear that he believes the Belfast man is one of the most exciting fighters in the UK and after giving him the opportunity to win the British lightweight title in the summer, this Friday at Wembley Arena Tennyson is in a world title eliminator with unbeaten Canadian Josh O'Reilly.

A European champion and world title contender at super-featherweight, Tennyson has looked much more comfortable at lightweight and he will start favourite to overcome O'Reilly, who is currently ranked eighth by the WBA - two slots higher than the Belfast man.

"This is another huge opportunity for me and considering the way 2020 has been for everyone I feel very blessed that my career has kept moving forward. I want to bring big fights back to Belfast. It's a dream, it's one I'm getting closer to. Eddie Hearn and my manager Mark Dunlop are working together to give me these chances and I believe I can one day top the bill at the SSE Arena," said Tennyson.

"Belfast is full of talent and you have Tommy McCarthy who's a European champion so the two of us on the same card would be a very big night.

"I've been on the undercard of Ryan Burnett and coming out to a packed arena, I'd never heard noise like it before. I want to be packing out arenas, that's the dream.

"If I can get past Josh O'Reilly then I know there is a real possibility of a show in Belfast. My big title wins so far have come on the road so when I think about how close I am to a big night in Belfast and also to a world title fight, it's very exciting.

"I love fighting but there are always some mornings when you wake up when you don't feel quite at it but knowing how close I am to a world title fight makes it that bit easier to get out of bed and train."

Tennyson, who boxes on the undercard of the world super-middleweight title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray, lifted the British crown with an explosive win over Gavin Gwynne in August and is eager to deliver another emphatic win.

"I want to go in and put in another solid performance. I know that people expect me to show my power all the time but I do want to show my boxing ability as well," added Tennyson.

"The further you go up the rankings the more you realise how important that is at the higher level."

Belfast Telegraph