Updated / Wednesday, 14 Apr 2021 18:39
James Tennyson will have another chance to win a world title when he faces Jovanni Straffon for the vacant IBO lightweight belt in Manchester on Saturday 1 May.
The hard-hitting Belfast man (28-3-0) further enhanced his reputation as one of the most exciting contenders in the division by taking out Canada’s Josh O’Reilly in one round last time out, winning the title eliminator in just two minutes and 14 seconds.
The 27-year-old, known as ‘The Assassin’, has won sixth straight stoppages since moving up to lightweight after losing his IBF super featherweight title bid against Tevin Farmer in October 2018. The IBO strap is generally considered less signifcant than the WBC, WBA, WBO or IBF belts.
Mexico’s Straffon (23-3-1, 16 KOs) has notched 23 wins since turning professional in December 2010, with 16 of those wins coming inside the distance for the 27-year-old southpaw from Torreon. ‘Impacto’ has lost just three times in 27 fights and has never been stopped.
“Winning the IBO world title will be a dream come true for me,” said Tennyson. “I have worked my whole life for this moment. This is my big opportunity to complete my collection of belts. I’ve won British, Commonwealth, European and two WBA Titles. All that’s missing is a world title.
“The other guys holding belts at lightweight haven’t been putting their belts on the line against each other. Winning the IBO will hopefully dangle a carrot in front of the other world champions and entice them into a big unification fight. I’m expecting a tough fight, Mexicans are well known for their toughness. I’ll have to bring my A game.
“I’ve been working hard for many years to get a fight like this,” said Straffon. “I will not waste it. I will go up in the ring thinking about my two little daughters and how I need to win this for them.”
The fight will take place on the same card as Katie Taylor’s clash with former Olympic opponent Natasha Jonas and the meeting of heavyweights Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker.