James Tennyson back to winning ways at Ulste Hall

James Tennyson
James Tennyson

James Tennyson turned on the power on Saturday night as he stopped Gary Neale in the second round of their Lightweight clash at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

And any hangover from his World title defeat to Tevin Farmer in Boston last year was soon forgotten about as the Belfast fighter began strongly, imposing himself on Neale and the writing looked on the wall from the opening exchanges, with the visitor on a constant retreat as he felt the power in the local fighter’s shots.

Upping the ante in the second, Tennyson dropped Neale to the body and while the 30-year-old rose, he was sent back down right at the close and Hugh Russell Jr would wave proceedings off to save him any more punishment.

It was a good comeback win for Tennyson and he can now look to move onto bigger and better fights in 2019.

“Yeah straight back to business,” he said. “I thought I boxed well and he came for a scrap and he got one.

It was good to get the win and the stoppage.

“The atmosphere out there was unbelievable and I want plenty of nights like that.

“We’ll see what the craic is next.

“Hopefully, Eddie Hearn will be on the phone soon and we’ll come to an agreement on something big for me, Mark and the team.”

And even after losing that World title battle to Farmer, Tennyson believes that experience will stand him in a good stead in the future as he looks to get back in the mix for a World title shot.

“It was good, I just wanted to get back out there and get a win,” he said. “After losing the World title fight I wanted to get back to winning ways. We’ll see what comes up now.

“My ‘0’ has gone, a while ago, so a loss now realistically doesn’t define my career. I’m still young. Every fight I’m building experience and learning.

“A defeat means nothing to me, I’m still young, I’ve got time on my side. A few years down the line I’ll be a lot better fighter with all these rounds of experience under my belt. I learned from the Farmer defeat and I will use the experience I picked up for future camps and fights.”

And Tennyson’s trainer Tony Dunlop jokingly said they know who they want next for the Belfast puncher.

“We’re going for Lomachenko! James turned professional at 18,” he said. “He’s been well-managed and he’s fought a lot of good fighters. Any losses he’s had is all experience.

“He’s got the heart of a fighter, the mind of a fighter and a warrior. Defeat to him is just a learning experience.

“At the age of 25 you’ve seen the experience and the class there tonight.

“As a kid he always had the world-class ability, the heart and the punching power to go along with it,” added trainer Dunlop.

And Coalisland’s Feargal McCrory got his hands on the vacant Irish Lightweight title as he stopped Karl Kelly in the 11th round after a barrage of punches.

The fight - before thestoppage - had been a cracker with both fighters putting everything on the line but it was McCrory who got the job done much to the delight of his large vocal support.

And McCrory admitted he had to work hard to get his hands on the Irish title.

“Karl Kelly is a tough lad, I knew he was tough,” he said. “I respected him before the fight but I told him there that I’ve more respect for him than any man having shared the ring with him.

“He’s a really, really good lad, he’s very tough, and it was a pleasure to share the ring with him.

“I hope he comes again, I’m a fan of his now and I wish him all the best.

“I knew going into the fight that I had to be very fit. I did believe I was naturally better then.

“I say this with the most respect to Karl, he’s not the best fighter I’ve faced but he’s the toughest and hungriest - and that’s a totally different challenge.

“It was a great fight for the Ulster Hall. We just went to war for a wee while and it was good craic.

“And I say this with respect to Karl as well because it was very, very tough for every minute of every round but I still felt in control of it.

“I thought I could box him at range and be better and be in close and be better - not every exchange in close, but I still felt I could take his best points away from him,” he said.

And the Coalisland fighter admitted a cut above his eye held him back slightly.

“It was only the second round and Andy O’Neill did an amazing job on the cut - but when he was putting the Vaseline on, it was blurring my vision because of how close it was to my eye,” he said.. “It took me a wee while to adjust but after the fourth it was gone.

And trainer John Breen was pleased with his young charge.

“ If Feargal hadn’t put it in in the gym he could have been beat but we knew all along that Feargal was fitter than he’s ever been.

“He sparred last week and I couldn’t believe how well he was sparring, he did 10 rounds of sparring.

“It was a good performance and result and we see where we go from here.”