James Tennyson: Belfast lightweight prepares to headline Ulster Hall

Media playback is not supported on this device

Tennyson ready to make lightweight bow

The irony is not lost on James Tennyson when he states that he took his October defeat to Tevin Farmer "on the chin".

In actual fact it was a brutal body shot midway through the fifth round that ended their contest in Boston and put Tennyson's world title aspirations back on ice.

The Belfast man went into that fight as an underdog. Nothing to lose, everything to gain.

In the end, American Farmer showed the sort of quality that befits a man talked up as one of the two top prospects of the super-featherweight division while Tennyson was confronted with plotting a path back to world title contention.

Far from discouraged, the 25-year-old sees his defeat as a blueprint back to the top.

"It was a learning curve," he reflects from his north Belfast gym.

"Tevin Farmer fought an unbelievable fight, it was tough. At the start it was tough to watch too, especially with the referee calling it off early. You question yourself, 'what if it had gone on?'"

Soon though, all the pontificating over what could have been makes way for a stark realisation that asking 'what if?' does little for the career of a boxer.

"You take it on the chin and you have to move on from it," Tennyson summarises.

"I fought at the highest level of boxing and took plenty from it. There were positives and I learned a lot and I have put it into this camp."

Start of the comeback trail

The camp he is referring to has now drawn to a close.

All the preparation is done and Tennyson is ready to get back in the ring on Saturday night when he headlines at the Ulster Hall.

As build-ups go, this one has been a stark contrast to the high-intensity affair of headlining a televised world title fight across the Atlantic.

Although that seems to suit Tennyson just fine. For him, motivation does not come in the form of public workouts and a media circus.

"I have fought in the Ulster Hall before and the atmosphere in that place is unbelievable," he says.

James Tennyson
Tennyson was stopped by Tevin farmer in the fifth round of their IBF world super-featherweight contest in Boston last October

"The whole crowd is in and around you so that has got me pumped up enough in itself."

On Saturday Tennyson faces undefeated Englishman Garry Neale in his first contest at lightweight.

The move from super-featherweight felt, he says, like a natural progression that could still be reversed in the future should the "right fight" come up in his previous division.

Regardless of the weight division, Tennyson views Saturday's 10-round contest as the first stage of a bigger plan to take his world title ambitions one step further than he managed in October.

However, as he points out, perhaps in boxing more than any other sport, taking your eye off what is in front of you can have catastrophic consequences.

"Yes I want a big belt and another big title fight but first of all I need to get the win on Saturday night," he says.

"That is where I want to be. It is the level of boxing that I want to be fighting at, so I just have to keep putting the work in and it will come again. The work starts on Saturday."

Top Stories