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James Tennyson says he's in the mood to be a Celtic hero

By David Kelly

James Tennyson says he is ready to grasp a golden opportunity to take his career to the next level at Andersonstown Leisure Centre.

The 21-year-old Belfast man is still a relative professional novice in comparison to Saturday night's opponent Kris Hughes, who has mixed at championship level - previously being stopped by Carl Frampton in their Commonwealth super-bantamweight title fight three years ago.

Tennyson and Hughes fight for the vacant Celtic featherweight title in a bout that has also been confirmed as a British title eliminator by the British Boxing Board of Control.

"I believe I'm ready for this fight. I am now a mature featherweight... it's going to be tough, Kris has only been stopped once so I think there's going to be some fireworks," said Poleglass man Tennyson, who suffered a shock defeat in 2013 to journeyman Pavel Senkovs.

He has since put that bitter defeat behind him, chalking up three wins and earning the right to fight for the Celtic belt which has become a good stepping stone to a crack at the Lonsdale belt in recent years. Hughes has also come back from his solitary stoppage loss at the hands of IBF World champion Frampton, having moved up a weight.

"I was doing very well and that loss was very hard to take, I just got caught cold," he added.

"But I learned from it and I have improved a lot.

"I've been working more on my boxing rather than just looking to rush in and I feel I have shown that improvement in my last couple of fights.

"My coach Tony Dunlop has been telling me to box more, we have been working very hard in the gym and sparring has gone very well.

"Both Kris and I think is a very big fight because a shot at the British title is on the line and I want that chance.

"It's a good step up for me because Kris is more experienced, he has boxed at a higher level but I feel very confident that I will come out on top.

"It's great that I am boxing at home, having the fans behind me will help."

The Andersonstown show will see an exciting all-Belfast lightweight clash between unbeaten James Fryers and Mark Morris over eight rounds, while local men Paul Hyland, Dee Walsh, Tyrone McKenna, Joe Hillerby and Daniel McShane are also on the card.

Fryers has the opportunity to take a step towards an Irish lightweight title fight with a seventh consecutive victory.

Ulster boxing is mourning the death of veteran Clonoe boxing coach Frank Gervin MBE, who passed away yesterday after a short illness at the age of 69.

Frank, famous in east Tyrone for standing in the way of a bulldozer to prevent his beloved Clonoe boxing gym from being knocked down in 2005, had founded the club in 1972 along with his wife Susan.

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