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James Tennyson: Lockdown reading can help me develop champion's mindset and thrive on boxing return

 

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Page turner: James Tennyson shows power

Page turner: James Tennyson shows power

Getty Images

He has his sights on more title success after the lockdown

He has his sights on more title success after the lockdown

Getty Images

Page turner: James Tennyson shows power

Hard-hitting James Tennyson knows all about being able to turn a negative situation into a positive and the Belfast man is determined to come out of the current lockdown situation an improved athlete.

Former World super-featherweight title challenger Tennyson came back from an early shock defeat in his career to become European champion and has shown equalising power when under the cosh. Having moved up to lightweight on the back of his world title loss at the hands of Tevin Farmer, he was lined up to face Gavin Gwynne for the British belt last Saturday.

Like every other fighter he is having to manage the impact of Covid-19 and Tennyson believes he is adding to his game by doing some reading, while maintaining a good level of fitness so that when the time comes he will be ready to face Gwynne.

"I was never a big reader but now I've been reading books on the mind and the champion's mindset. I want to be even stronger mentally because it's such a crucial part of sport," said Tennyson.

"It's a tough time for everyone but I'm determined to keep a positive mindset and when I get back I want to be an even better fighter - I'll have a better understanding of a champion's mindset.

"I haven't taken my foot off the gas at all since the lockdown so my fitness is good. I had actually bought a lot of gym gear, including weights, before I had any idea that the virus would lead to a lockdown so that has helped a lot.

"Being fit and being fit to fight are two different things but I'm confident that I will have a good base to go back into camp when the call comes. There has been a lot of talk that fights will take place behind closed doors and if I'm offered to go straight into a British title fight with Gwynne I'd take it."

Tennyson signed a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn ahead of the fight with Gwynne which leaves him in a very good position to return to the ring when the sport is given the green light. The British Boxing Board of Control are keen to see ring action in July and Hearn will be at the forefront of staging shows along with rival promoter Frank Warren.

The 26-year-old Belfast man, managed by local man Mark Dunlop and coached by Tony Dunlop, has looked much more comfortable and even more explosive since the step up to lightweight, giving him the confidence that he can work his way back to a world title opportunity.

"At super-featherweight it got to the point where I would have a great training camp, feel great in sparring but then that last week of cutting weight just took everything away from me - it took the pop out of my punches," added Tennyson.

"Now that I've moved up to lightweight I don't have that grind of worrying about making weight any more. It's been so far so good and I know that at the time the lockdown came I was really starting to fly in the gym ahead of the Gwynne fight.

"Whenever the fight with Gwynne does happen I know I'll be ready. I watched his fight with Joe Cordina and I think it's going to be a fan-friendly fight because he likes to take the centre of the ring and put pressure on. That suits me, though I know that one thing I'll be working on is to use my boxing more.

"It won't matter to me if the fight is behind closed doors or not because I just want to get that title and push on."

Belfast Telegraph