Perfect plan – Josh O’Reilly confident he will end James Tennyson’s world title hopes

Josh O’Reilly [16(6)-0] believes he has a game plan capable of stopping James Tennyson’s destructive run of form as the lightweights prepare to collide in an Eliminator for the WBA lightweight world title at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Friday, shown live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

O’Reilly is undefeated in 16 fights since turning professional in July 2014, and the 29-year-old Canadian holds the North American Boxing Association Lightweight Title and a top ten ranking with the WBA.

Having looked into Tennyson [27(23)-3(3)] and his previous fights, O’Reilly knows he cannot afford to come into the ring with anything less than top form, and the Ontario man is confident of taking a step closer to a dream World Title shot of his own tomorrow evening.

“I’m super excited,” said O’Reilly. “I’ve never been on a stage like this. It’s awesome to get this opportunity. I’m happy to be sharing the ring with James, I think it’s going to be a great fight and I’m looking forward to it.

“He really likes guys to sit in front of him, so you’ve got to keep him off balance, lots of lateral movement. Some do well but expend a lot of energy and he catches up with them. You have to mix it up, lateral movement and space.

“I’ve got the be sharp and switched on. The plan is to not get caught up in anything crazy early and pick my shots to slow him down. There’s things you see, there’s a lot I can take away from all his fights. There’s a lot of things from the outside that might seem different when I’m in there.”

The Cavan connected Canadian has studied the Belfast fighter and believes he has a beat him blueprint, now it’s just about putting it into play.

“I’m a fan, I like watching the kid. I’ve seen him enough and I think there’s a lot of stuff I can do in there to negate a lot of the stuff he does. I’ve got my own plan on what’s going to happen, it’s just about executing it. I’ve watched him for a while. I’ve paid attention to him, seen some of his older fights.

“He’s a strong kid, I might be a bigger guy than him but he’s got the power. We’ve both got to make 135. Back home, there’s stuff to do like sell tickets, so it’s less stressful here. You can focus on the fight and do your training, focus on making the weight. I feel quite comfortable, it’s the easiest I’ve made weight for some time.”

Tennyson vs. O’Reilly is part of a big night of action in London, Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) defends his WBO Super-Middleweight World Title against Martin Murray (39-5-1, 17 KOs), Watford Bantamweight Shannon Courtenay (5-1, 2 KOs) looks to return to winning ways against Poland’s Dorota Nurek (6-1, 1 KO), Derby’s Zach Parker (19-0, 13 KOs) takes on Spain’s Cesar Nunez (17-2-1, 9 KOs) for the WBO International Super-Middleweight Title, New Malden Super-Middleweight talent Lerrone Richards (13-0, 3 KOs) makes his Matchroom debut against Finland’s Timo Laine (28-14, 12 KOs), Southampton’s Lewis Edmondson (3-0) clashes with Manchester’s John Telford (11-2-1, 2 KOs) over six rounds at Super-Middleweight and exciting Sheffield Featherweight Donte Dixon (4-0, 3 KOs) meets Welshman Angelo Dragone (5-1) over six rounds.

Picture credit Mark Robinson and Matchroom Boxing.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]