James Tennyson: Northern Irishman powers past Josh O'Reilly in one round

James Tennyson
James Tennyson outclassed Josh O'Reilly in London

Belfast's James Tennyson took a step towards a world lightweight title shot with a stunning first-round stoppage win over Josh O'Reilly in London.

Tennyson produced a ferocious display before the WBA world title eliminator was stopped by referee Marcus McDonnell after two minutes and 14 seconds.

It was a first defeat for O'Reilly, outclassed from the first bell.

Tennyson took his professional record to 28-3, moving closer to a WBA title shot against Gervonta Davis.

On the attack from the outset, Tennyson sent O'Reilly crashing to the Wembley Arena canvas with a flurry of explosive hits.

The Canadian returned to his feet but was quickly knocked down once more as Tennyson sensed an early finish.

After O'Reilly beat the count for a second time, Tennyson landed a sequence of finishing blows before McDonnell stepped in.

'It's a huge statement'

It is Tennyson's sixth straight stoppage win since moving up to lightweight, further enhancing the 27-year-old's reputation as one of the most exciting prospects in the division.

Having brushed O'Reilly aside in ruthless fashion, Tennyson admits he feels "very close" to challenging for another world title after coming up short in his previous bid against Tevin Farmer in 2018.

Promoter Eddie Hearn feels Tennyson should fight Venezuela's Jorge Linares in Belfast in 2021.

"I caught him with a left hook and saw that it hurt him a bit and thought 'you know what, I'll put it on him here and it paid off," Tennyson told BBC Sport NI.

"It's a huge statement. Josh was 16-0 unbeaten, he came over with a lot of confidence, and I got in and out early so it's a big statement and I've got some big fights lined up ahead of me for next year.

"I'm very excited for 2021. I knew if I won tonight, I'd go on to some big fights next year. I'm excited to see what the future holds.

"I'd say I'm within touching distance [of headlining a bill in Belfast]. I'm going to move up the WBA rankings and my next few fights are going to be against big names, and they're the kinds of fights the SSE Arena needs.

"It's been deprived of big fights this last while so I feel like I could be the one to bring them back."

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