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lord of the ring Belfast boxer James Tennyson takes step close to world title fight after latest KO

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James Tennyson. Photo: Sportsfile

James Tennyson. Photo: Sportsfile

James Tennyson. Photo: Sportsfile

JAMES Tennyson demolished unbeaten Canadian Josh O’Reilly at the Wembley Arena to move a step closer securing a second world title fight.

There was an enormous gulf in class between the two lightweights. The Belfast fighter sensed from the opening bell that he had the measure of O’Reilly who spent time in Cavan when he was younger. During his sojourn there he fought and lost to future Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin.

“I expected a tough fight, but I caught him with a left hook early on and I felt I hurt him, so I just went for it,” said Tennyson. After being on the receiving end of a barrage of punches the Canadian hit the canvas for the first time.

He survived the count, but it was obvious that his time was limited, and he was put down again halfway through the round. Though he again survived the count he looked unsteady on his feet and referee Marcus McDonnell intervened to save him from further punishment with 46 seconds left in the first round.

This was Tennyson’s 24th win via knockout and Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn couldn’t hide his enthusiasm for the fighter. “Pound for pound he is one of the hardest hitters around and go out to entertain which the crowds love.”

Hearn strongly hinted that Tennyson’s next fight would be back in his native Belfast once crowds are allowed back into fights in the New Year. He suggested Tennyson might need another high profile fight before challenging for a world belt.

The fight was officially billed by the WBA as a final eliminator, but the lightweight division is populated by some of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the business. Teofimo Lopez recently became a unified champion at the weight while two other top rated WBA fighters Gervonta Davis and Rolanda Romero are unbeaten.

Meanwhile, tomorrow night Eric Donovan returns to the ring for the first time since his first career loss in August to British fighter Zelfa Barrett.

The 35-year-old takes on journeyman Rafael Castillo in a six-round lightweight contest at the Fight Off Training Centre, Wavre in Belgium.

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