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Tennyson can shock Ward and land European crown: Anthony Cacace



Fighting fit: Martin Ward and James Tennyson

Fighting fit: Martin Ward and James Tennyson

Fighting fit: Martin Ward and James Tennyson

Last summer Anthony Cacace came up short against Martin Ward but believes that fellow Belfast man James Tennyson will tonight go one better in the O2 Arena, London.

Cacace was outpointed in a British and Commonwealth super-featherweight title scrap, walking away from Wembley Arena burdened with regrets that he didn't quite finish the job after 12 tight rounds.

Tonight on the undercard of the heavyweight scrap between bitter rivals David Haye and Tony Bellew, there are three titles on the line as Tennyson takes a step up in class to challenge Ward for his European and Commonwealth straps.

Belfast man Tennyson, who puts his WBA international title and number two super-featherweight rating with the governing body on the line, is seen as the underdog but Cacace takes a different view.

"I genuinely believe that James has a great chance of beating Ward," said Cacace.

"If James can apply smart pressure then he will get the openings and Ward is there to be hit. I can see James causing a shock and winning by knockout.

"Ward is a decent boxer but doesn't like to have a fight. I felt that I could have done more when we fought - I was catching him with good solid shots but not following up enough.

"James can learn from that and go in and really put it on Ward. He can draw him in and land big shots that'll do damage."

Tennyson believes the chance to land the biggest win of his career has come at the right time and while he still seems to be very big for the weight, the Belfast man insists he had no issue weighing in yesterday just inside the 9st 4lb limit.

"I really feel I am firing on all cylinders for this fight," said Tennyson, who is coached by Tony Dunlop in Belfast's Kronk gym.

"My coach Tony has been very happy with how the camp has gone and we have our game plan in place.

"He's the reason that I am where I am at this point in my career along with the help of my manager Mark Dunlop. We've put in some great work, I've had really good sparring and now it's about going in and grabbing my chance."

Meanwhile, former world heavyweight champion Haye has revealed the drastic change in his preparations for tonight's rematch with Bellew is because his opponent won the mind games before their first fight last March.

Former WBA heavyweight champion Haye appeared angry throughout the build-up to that defeat, punching Bellew and shouting at him, his promoter Eddie Hearn and Bellew's supporters before the pair met in the ring.

"For the past fight it was difficult to motivate myself because I didn't see him as a threat, so I used his annoying personality as fuel to wind me up, and embraced the fact he was annoying," he said.

"Sometimes you lose your way a little bit. (I've learnt) to be calm, and not allow things to eat away at me. I'd listen to an interview and he'd say certain things and it would irritate me; now it's 'Why was I even thinking about that? Who cares?' It's got no bearing on the boxing.

Haye, who on Friday weighed-in at 15st 10lbs 2oz compared to his previous, bloated 16st 9oz, was also asked if his career was over if he again loses, and he responded: "One hundred per cent. If I can't beat Tony Bellew, I'm man enough to know that boxing's not for me anymore."

Belfast Telegraph