Zappa v Langham Saturday night: Someone's 0 must go!

On Saturday night at the Auburn RSL in Sydney's West, former IBF and IBO flyweight boss Vic Darchinyan meets Filipino Federico Catubay for the vacant IBO super flyweight belt. In a battle of unbeatens, the main support act sees 2004 Olympian Ryan Langham (9-0, 5 KO's) challenge 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Lenny Zappa (10-0, 7 KO's) for the Australian lightweight title the Sydney fighter won on November 24 last year..

While the two were successful amateurs, their professional careers have differed somewhat. Langham's has stalled while Zappa's has soared. According to boxing forums and columns Zappa appears to go into the fight a firm favorite. Many who think this point to Langham's eight round majority points win over Robert Oyan eleven months ago on a Jamie Myer FightNight from the Gold Coast. Zappa won an easy ten round decision over Oyan, pitching a shutout on two cards, in May.

What most people don't realise is that 5 foot 11 southpaw Langham was no where near his best that night. Suffering the flu a week prior, Ryan struggled in the last few days of training and was in a lot of doubt, even at one stage asking for the bout shortened to six rounds. Still "sick as a dog" entering the ring, a white as a ghost Langham was wide ahead going into the final stanza. Early in the eighth he was dropped by a short right hand. He was down again, from a left hook and barely saw out the round, being deducted a point for tackling the desperate Oyan to the floor.

The decision of 77-74, 75-74 and 75-75 was greeted with a mixed response from the crowd and Oyan immediately stormed from the ring. Langham admits at first he thought he had lost but when reviewing the tape knew that he'd won. This writer trained Langham for the fight and personally feels that it was a fight where "Iron" Ryan showed mettle, knowing what was his condition.

"One round doesn't win a fight" said Ryan on Thursday. "He hardly hit me for the first seven. Everyone says it was a bad fight but they don't know how crook I was. Only my camp knew. After the third round I had no legs. If I had not needed the money at the time I probably would have pulled out of the fight. If I didn't have to pace myself I probably would have stopped him."

Since then, Langham, 25, has returned to Perth, Western Australia and Craig Christian's well established Harry's Gym where he'd been based since his second pro start in 2005. "The training over there (on the Gold Coast) was good but there was no sparring. My main sparring partner for my two fights there last year was (middleweight) Gavin Topp" said Langham, who was born in Blacktown, West Sydney but grew up on the Gold Coast in Queensland. "And I never sparred for two and a half weeks before both those fights".

"Over in Perth I'm sparring against blokes around my own weight" he said, naming Chris John, Noefel Ben Rabah, William Kickett and Simson Butar Butar as some of the fighters he has boxed since moving back in February. "And I'm sparring all the time". Of late he has boxed Kickett, promising amateur Brendan Wilson and Indonesia's Alex Bajawa, a 36-0-2, 11 KO's featherweight.

"It's gonna be a tough hard fight. I respect Lenny, he is a strong boy. I'm going to use my advantages to win the fight" he said. "But everyone points to me being dropped by Oyan but Lenny was dropped twice in the first round by a novice, Junmar Dulog. And he (Dulog) is a southpaw. I like that".

"If Ryan sticks to the game plan and boxes the way a southpaw should he can't lose this fight. There might even be a late stoppage" said trainer Craig Christian.

"This fight is as much about respect as it is for the Australian title" concludes Langham, who goes in listed at number 4 by the ANBF. "Lenny's a bloke who has had a lot of wraps put on him. This is the fight I wanted. After I beat Lenny people will have to respect me".

Also on Saturday nights card, shown live on Foxsports is an interesting non title fight between William Kickett and Filipino PABA 130 lb champ Jun Paderna.

Article posted on 17.10.2007

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