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Dublin: 13°C Friday 14 May 2021

Tennyson suffers shock first-round stoppage defeat to Straffon

The Belfast puncher was outgunned and halted by the unheralded Mexican, who transformed his career in just over two minutes.

Belfast's James Tennyson.
Belfast's James Tennyson.
Image: Matchroom Boxing/Mark Robinson/INPHO

JAMES TENNYSON WAS sensationally stopped by unheralded Mexican Jovanni Straffon inside a round of their lightweight contest at the Manchester Arena on Saturday evening.

The world title-chasing Belfast man was fortunate to be allowed to continue after a knockdown but, having barely regained his senses, was halted on his feet against the ropes by mystery man Straffon who lived up to his ring moniker ‘Impacto’ and transformed his career in just over two minutes.

Both fighters tore into each other from the off in a round of extraordinary action, standing toe to toe and trading thudding blows to body and head.

Tennyson was wobbled by a sweeping left hook amid the exchanges and his corner could be heard telling him to pace himself, but the die had already been cast. Straffon forced another phone booth flurry and a short right hook-left hook combination caused Tennyson to fall backwards onto the canvas.

It was evident as soon as he hit the floor that the fight was ostensibly over; Tennyson’s equilibrium was gone and he did extraordinarily well to make it back to his feet by the count of eight.

The fight probably should have been stopped even then but heavy favourite Tennyson was given the benefit of the doubt to continue. Straffon, though, took only a few more seconds to force the finish, unleashing a barrage on his Irish opponent who was spared as he got pummeled against the ropes.

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“I’ve been through a lot in my life and he’s not tougher than my life,” Straffon said via a translator post-fight, seemingly referring to his verbal back-and-forth with Tennyson about ‘toughness’ which played out in the media during the week.

“I was more than confident that I’d do what I just did.”

Straffon [24-3-1, 17KOs] will now take Tennyson’s place at the precipice of world-title contention, while the 27-year-old Belfast man [28-4, 24KOs] faces a significant rebuild if he is to succeed in his long pursuit of world honours.

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