Langford vs Sheedy on November 26

World rated Commonwealth middleweight king Tommy Langford walks the tightrope at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena next weekend when he gambles his WBO number two ranking in a quest to add the Lonsdale Belt to his burgeoning collection.

The Devon-born Brummie meets shifty Sheffield southpaw Sam ‘Speedy’ Sheedy in a salivating showdown for the vacant British title. BoxNation screen live.

On Thursday Glynn Evans caught up with the unbeaten 6ft Baggie bomber to contemplate risk versus reward.

What was your immediate reaction when Chris Eubank Jr vacated his British title rather than accept your mandatory challenge?

At the time, I was disappointed because when, like me, you go about your business without shouting and bawling about your opponents, it’s difficult to launch your career without facing a big name scalp, someone who can propel you into the top bracket.

A fight with Eubank would probably have doubled up as a WBO eliminator and victory would have put me right in the picture for a world title crack at Billy Joe Saunders.

And I was genuinely confident I’d have beaten Eubank. I’m not saying he’s not a good fighter but he’s definitely got flaws that can be exploited. He can be outworked and outboxed. I think it dawned on them that the risk outweighed the reward.

But if the Eubanks had no intention of fighting me, why not withdraw before purse bids were made? Why waste everyone’s time and energy? It’s backfired on them, big time.

But it no longer matters. Eubank is in the past. Chip paper. I’m glad we’re rid of them. I still get to fight for the British title.

What value do you place on the British title?

It’s huge, mate. Every British fighter wants their name in the record books as British champion. Winning the Commonwealth, then British is a prestigious route to take and, if I win, a crack at the European next would be fantastic.

That Lonsdale Belt is beautiful and the British middleweight title is steeped in tradition. Just look at the fighters who’ve previously held it. Terry Downes, Alan Minter, Tony Sibson, ‘Bomber’ Graham…

WBO king Billy Joe Saunders – another on Frank Warren’s roster – tops the bill in Cardiff. Is your bout with Sheedy a dress rehearsal for a world title showdown between Saunders and yourself in the new year?

That’s entirely up to Frank and Billy. I’ve repeatedly said I’ll have the Saunders fight if it’s offered but you need two fighters to get in the ring and we don’t know what Billy’s intentions are. What I will say is, with the possible exception of the Jap (2012 Olympic champion Ryota Murata), if you scan in the WBO rankings there isn’t a more attractive challenger for the British fight public than me.

It’s up to me to put in a phenomenal performance against another southpaw on Saturday week to get fight fans juices flowing for a Saunders-Langford fight. Now, BT is on board, the fight would get projected to another level.

I’ll certainly have a little peep at Bill from ringside but I know all I need to know. We were in the same age group right through the amateurs and boxed on England squads together. Besides, having just won the British title, I’ll be on Cloud Nine. I doubt I’ll be able to concentrate!

Given your lofty world ranking, is the fight with Sheedy an unnecessary risk?

Look, every fight I take now is a risk. But it’s a risk that’s outweighed by the reward of becoming British and Commonwealth champion. It’ll improve my stock by more than if I didn’t fight Sam for the British title. The biggest risk is that I don’t look good. I need to look special. However, given the preparation I’ve had, I’m very confident that I can deliver in style.

You’ve capitalised on your love of West Bromwich Albion FC to attract a huge following among the Baggies faithful. Can we expect them out en masse again in Cardiff?

Unfortunately there won’t be quite as many as there would have been for Eubank on the original date (22nd October). But there’ll still be close to a thousand and I guarantee they’ll be very noisy. I’m looking forward to winning the belt for all of those who can make it.

You copped some serious flack from co-challenger Sheedy in a recent interview. How do you counter his claims that you’re boring, have no personality and that the Langford clan are all ‘chinny’?!

The only logical reason he’s doing it is to coax me into tearing after him and forfeiting my game plan.
Sheedy’s been very disrespectful but I find it quite funny. He just plucks random things out of the air. The Langfords are ‘chinny’?! Well the only one to stop (brother) Jack was Anthony Fowler, a world bronze medallist, and in the 17 pro fights that have taken me to the Commonwealth title, I’ve dropped just two rounds, never been hurt, never been off my feet.

And if I’m boring, how come I can attract a couple of thousand people to pay good money to watch me box? There’s no weight behind anything he says. He’s completely deluded.

Stylistically, Sheedy poses a different set of challenges to Eubank. What do you need to be particularly mindful of?

Sheedy’s southpaw stance certainly won’t be an issue. I’ve sparred thousands of rounds with Frankie Gavin. Sam does have an awkward, ‘floaty’ style and he tries to be unpredictable. But we fully expect he won’t be conventional.

The challenge is not to get frustrated, use my superior boxing and break him down. If he’s serious about winning the British title, as opposed to just fighting for it, he’ll have to come at me, at some stage. That’s when he gets taken out.

How do you expect the fight to pan out? What’s your prediction?

I really hope Sam does show some fight and ambition. He’s boasted about his ‘hidden’ power prior to his previous fights but, let’s keep it real, he’s only stopped four in 18 fights and he’s never ‘iced’ anybody…ever!

I don’t talk trash so it’s imperative that I generate big interest through what I produce in the ring. Next Saturday Sheedy’s going to find out that the reason all my opponents go back foot is because I punch with authority. I hurt. He’ll be shocked when I set about him!
I predict a clear win for Tommy Langford. If he runs I’ll outbox him and systematically break him down. If he ‘brings it’, he gets stopped!

Liam Williams and Ahmet Patterson’s hotly-anticipated British title showdown is part of a huge night of boxing at the Motorpoint Arena. WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders makes the maiden defence of his crown against Brooklyn-based Russian Artur Akavov; Manchester’s WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan defends his World title for the fourth time against Puerto Rico’s Orlando Cruz; Liverpool’s Tom Stalker makes the first defence of his European Lightweight strap against long-term rival Craig Evans and Birmingham’s Tommy Langford faces-off with Sheffield’s Sam Sheedy for the Vacant British Middleweight title.

Wales is well represented on a stacked undercard; Gary Lockett-trained Middleweight Alex Hughes looks to go 9-0, Super-Flyweight Jay Harris looks to build on his explosive KO win at the Cardiff Ice Arena last time out and 5-0 Barry Lightweight Jason Sillett looks to impress on home soil. Ricky Hatton Heavyweight prodigy Nathan Gorman aims for another explosive KO, Market Harborough Super-Welterweight Rueben Arrowsmith looks to extend his unbeaten record to 8-0 and Wimbledon Welterweight Louis Adolphe goes in search of his sixth win.

Remaining tickets for November 26 priced £40, £70, £100, £150 and £200 are available from www.motorpointarena.com (029 2022 4488), www.eventim.com (0844 249 1000) and www.ticketmaster.co.uk (0844 8440 444).

BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, will televise this fight on Sky (SD Ch.437 and HD Ch.415), Freeview (Ch.255), Virgin (Ch.546), TalkTalk (Ch.415), online at watch.boxnation.com and via apps (iOS, Android, Amazon).

Go to www.boxnation.com to see how you can watch this show and more live!

Sam Sheedy: “I’ve Got Far More Ability And Personality Than Boring Langford!”

Shifty Sheffield southpaw Sam Sheedy is promising to spice up the domestic middleweight scene, writes Glynn Evans.

After a sombre eight year pro apprenticeship, the 28 year old from the Steel City intends to announce himself by upsetting unbeaten Baggie bomber Tommy Langford in what looks a quality pairing for the Commonwealth and vacant British titles at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday week. BoxNation screen live.

‘All Langford has got is fitness,’ claims ‘Speedy’ Sheedy who has won 17 of 18.

‘He’s a boring straight up boxer. He’s good at what he does – jab, right hand – but there’s no boisterousness, no flamboyancy. I’ve got far more ability and personality than Langford.

‘I guarantee Tommy’s not as mentally strong as me and I also believe he’s got a suspect chin. He was rocked several times in the amateurs and is frightened of taking a shot. His brother was just the same. It runs in the family!’

The slippery 5ft 11in skilster from Glyn Rhodes’ Sheffield Boxing Centre earned his chance with a wafer thin 10 round split decision over Redditch roughhouse Andrew ‘D’Animal’ Robinson at Rotherham’s Magna Centre in late July. However, slammin’ Sam warns it would be foolish to judge him on that close shave.

‘Back then, I was training very hard but not very intelligently. I was focussing too much on
strength and not enough on boxing,’ states Sheedy who is managed by AJ Hobson.

‘Going into the fight I picked up a bad back injury and, even on adrenalin, was only operating at about 70%. I was unable to warm up and my dressing room, which is usually bubbling, was really down.

‘I was unable to move properly and didn’t perform anywhere near as well as I could’ve. Robinson really stepped up his game and was relentless. I’ve still no idea how I managed to get through.’

Though the showdown with Langford represents his first major title gig, the former bricklayer has been honing his fighting skills for 17 years.

‘When I were 11, the Rocky films were on TV on consecutive Saturday nights and that’s when I fell in love with boxing,’ he explains.

‘I started going to the Sheffield Boxing Centre and, though I were never a natural scrapper, I immediately became fascinated by the art of boxing, the tactical side. For me, it was physical chess, trying to outwit the opponent. I loved the science behind it; make ‘em miss, make ‘em pay!’

‘I only won 26 of my 52 amateur bouts. Our matchmaker didn’t match us to win, he matched us to learn and I served a good apprenticeship. I won a lot more towards the end of my amateur career and fought some good lads. Liam Smith beat me in the junior ABA semis.

‘I have to blame Glyn a bit for my lack of success in the amateurs. He were pretty disliked by the amateur brigade. Our gym got no favours.’

Sheedy opted to punch for pay shortly after his 20th birthday and nailed the Central Area super-welter belt with a savage one round slaughter of Doncaster’s Jason Ball in start number seven.

However, impressive early career wins over the likes of Terry Carruthers, Max Maxwell and Bradley Pryce sent rival contenders diving into their bunkers and Sam’s passage to title contention proved laborious.

He explains: ‘My problem is, I drive opponents insane!

‘People don’t even want to spar with me because I’m so awkward and tricky. After our fight, Bradley Pryce tweeted he’d never boxed anyone as tricky as me and he’s been in with all the champions. However, because I’m not with a big promoter, it’s been easy to avoid me.

‘On top of that, early in my career I had almost two years out with an injury. My hip kept popping out of the socket which restricted my running and eventually I got fed up with it. But everything that’s happened in the past has just set me up for now. I couldn’t be more switched on.’

His aspirations were further thwarted when he copped the rough end of a 10 round tear up with fellow Tyke Nav Mansouri for the English super-welter strap 16 months ago. It remains the solitary blemish on his slate.

‘From my end, nothing went wrong in the Mansouri fight,’ claims Sheedy who dropped a split.

‘I know of only two people in the hall that night who thought Nav won but unfortunately both happened to be judges! Nav’s a very good friend of mine but we both know who really won.

‘But boxing down at light-middle my power was restricted and I was content to just cruise to victory. Today, up at 160, I’m a different animal. I’m bullying 14st men in sparring.

‘Having survived the bombs of the likes of Bradley Pryce, Nav and Andrew Robinson, I know I’ve got a good chin. Now I’m more prepared to risk taking a few to land my own power punches.’

And the cocksure contender claims the minor injuries to headline acts Billy Joe Saunders and Liam Williams which forced the Cardiff carnival to be placed on hold for five weeks have significantly increased his chance of springing an upset.

‘Initially the Langford camp thought they’d got me on three and a half weeks notice but, because of the delay, now I’ve had a nine week camp. There’ll be no excuses from my end,’ says Sheedy, the mandatory Commonwealth challenger, who was slipped in after Chris Eubank Jnr cried off.

‘Langford’s not even the best fighter I’ve faced – Nav Mansouri is better – but it will be the biggest occasion of my career. Still, I was made for the cameras and I’ll thrive off the atmosphere.

‘I expect Tommy to try to steam me early but he’ll be too eager. I’ll catch him with my counters and finish him, probably with my left hook over the top. He can’t survive the bombs that Andrew Robinson withstood.’

‘I’ve served my apprenticeship under the radar and now I’m ready for all the major titles. Though I’m 28, I’m still very young, very fresh. Victory in Cardiff will give me options left, right and centre.

‘Tommy’s already found his level but I want so much more. I won’t only be British and Commonwealth champion, I intend to rule the world!’

Remaining tickets for November 26 priced £40, £70, £100, £150 and £200 are available from www.motorpointarena.com (029 2022 4488), www.eventim.com (0844 249 1000) and www.ticketmaster.co.uk (0844 8440 444).

BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, will televise this show on Sky (SD Ch.437 and HD Ch.415), Freeview (Ch.255), Virgin (Ch.546), TalkTalk (Ch.415), online at watch.boxnation.com and via apps (iOS, Android, Amazon).

Go to www.boxnation.com to see how you can watch this show and more live!

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