| 3.9°C Belfast

James Tennyson 'one of world's most exciting boxers' as Eddie Hearn tees up Jorge Linares battle in Belfast after Josh O'Reilly knockout

Hard-hitting Belfast man looks ahead to an exciting 2021


Take that: Belfast’s James Tennyson lands a hard uppercut right on the nose of Josh O’Reilly on Friday night

Take that: Belfast’s James Tennyson lands a hard uppercut right on the nose of Josh O’Reilly on Friday night

Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Take that: Belfast’s James Tennyson lands a hard uppercut right on the nose of Josh O’Reilly on Friday night

The onward march to a world lightweight title shot continued apace for James Tennyson at Wembley Arena last night as he demolished Josh O'Reilly in 165 seconds.

The Belfast man came into this fight off the back of five straight knockout victories since stepping up to 135lb, including a British title success over Gavin Gwynne last time out, and extended it to six from six with another display of ferocious power that simply overwhelmed the Irish-Canadian, who was out of his depth.

Having come up short in a super-featherweight title challenge to Tevin Farmer back in 2018, the Belfast banger was determined to blast his way into the world conversation in one of boxing's hottest divisions. He did that with aplomb as he landed a trademark uppercut to open the gate and this was too much for O'Reilly, who simply wasn't capable of standing up to the power of a man who is simply the biggest puncher in Irish boxing.

"I was expecting a tough fight with Josh," said Tennyson.

"I clipped him with a left hook and thought I'd put it on him and it paid off.

"My style is a come-forward aggressive boxer but when you can put it on someone, you may as well follow it up."

O'Reilly, a NABA champion, came to the ring with a perfect 16-0 record with six stoppages, but this was his first assignment outside of his native Canada and he was given a rude awakening early with that uppercut as he hit the floor once Tennyson sensed he had hurt him early.

The early knockdown may have been enough but O'Reilly rose, yet it was a stay of execution as, clearly hurt when caught, he was soon on the floor again from a right.

Bravely, he rose again but it was only a matter of time and after a couple of flush shots when no longer capable of defending himself from the wrecking ball closing in, referee Phil Edwards called a halt.

"After tonight's win I'm very close (to a world title shot) and once it comes, I'll be ready to go," added Tennyson.

The victory moves Tennyson's record to 28-3 and in the opinion of promoter Eddie Hearn, as high as No.2 in the rankings.


Promoter Eddie Hearn

Promoter Eddie Hearn

Promoter Eddie Hearn


The Matchroom boss feels his charge needs to move up another level before facing the big boys of the division and hinted at a showdown with former champion Jorge Linares in Belfast's SSE Arena next year.

"That was ruthless again from James Tennyson but for me he needs another fight at a higher level before we can start talking about Teofimo Lopez and Gervonta Davis," he said.

"I love Jorge Linares. Linares at the Odyssey (SSE) Arena once the crowds are back next year is the one. It doesn't matter if you're from Belfast, England or wherever. If you love knockouts, this young man is ruthless. Belfast, get behind this young man as I think he's one of the most exciting fighters in boxing. He's one of the hardest punchers in boxing, pound-for-pound, so get behind him."

Tonight, Anthony Yarde faces Lyndon Arthur in what is an intriguing Commonwealth light-heavyweight title showdown in London.

The 29-year-old, who lost in a brave world title challenge to Russia's Sergey Kovalev, takes on the undefeated Arthur in a fight that could catapult the victor back into world title contention.

Yarde will start as the favourite against a man who has 17 wins from as many fights, but without a stoppage in any, it seems unlikely he will have enough to deter Yarde from bursting back into the title picture at 178lb.

Belfast Telegraph