Super stylish Brummie middleweight Tommy Langford has enjoyed a ‘break out’ 2015 thus far and knows a final stellar performance in defence of his WBO Inter-Continental belt at Manchester Arena on December 19th will further enhance his growing reputation heading into 2016.
The 26 year old two-time CYP champion and former England amateur captain has romped to 14 straight wins and a number six world ranking with the WBO since entering the pros in September 2012.
This season, the Birmingham University Sports Science graduate has advanced to Latino opposition, winning and retaining the Inter-Continental strap against Mexico’s Julio Cesar Avalos (rsc4) and Argentina’s Cristian Fabian Rios (pts10) respectively, in preparation for an assault on the major global belts after the New Year.
‘The Mexican was perfect for filling the criteria for the Inter-Continental belt and getting me world rated. He was clever and awkward and hadn’t been dropped or stopped before but I was too big, too quick and able to punch down at him,’ recalls the Tom Cheney coached six footer, who is feted for his silky skills and high punch output.
‘The Argie was very popular back home, apparently. He brought Argentinean TV over with him and definitely came to win. Against him, I got the experience of completing the 10 rounds for the first time and I served a warning to my rivals that I could sustain a very high pace, something I always knew.
‘Though I’d a lot of experience of southpaws previously from the amateurs, both he and the Mexican brought unconventional styles; threw wild awkward punches for me to cope with. The fights allowed us to continue with our plan. Every fight I feel I’m progressing technically.’
In the latter contest in early October, the north Devon born starlet assumed main event status for the first time at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
‘That was a nice experience, especially as it was in the midlands and live on BoxNation; another box ticked,’ he says.
‘It shows that both the channel and Frank (Warren) place value on me and had the confidence to build a show around me. The Civic Hall always has a very loud and knowledgeable boxing crowd in there and I personally sold close to 400 tickets.’
Though Langford’s pro CV lists just four stoppage victories, all ten fights that lasted the distance were complete shutouts on the officials’ cards.
‘As far as I’m aware, I still haven’t lost a round as a pro yet,’ he claims.
‘Rivals need to work out how to win a round against me, never mind win a fight! For that to happen, they either need to work extremely hard – which will take its toll later in the fight – or chin me. And though I have a tremendously high work rate, I don’t get hit much. I use a lot of angles and I’m very slippery.’
Turbo Tommy’s angular frame, energy and sharp shooting have brought favourable comparisons with a past hero from the region; Telford’s Richie Woodhall who reigned on the WBC Super-Middle throne in 1998-9.
West Bromwich Albion fanatic Langford comments: ‘That’s wicked. My dad always spoke a lot about Richie because obviously there’s the Baggies connection. But people say we’re similar style wise and that’s a huge complement, given he was a former world champion.
‘Recently, I’ve started to watch a lot of tapes of Richie’s fights and he was a very good ‘stand off’, long range technician with a good straight right hand. I also watch a lot of Joe Calzaghe; lots of long fast punches, always firing back. That’s the style I want to have.’
A fully qualified personal trainer and nutritionist, the intelligent, articulate Langford is acquiring a rep as a real student of the sport and has latterly been employed as an analyst for BoxNation.
‘Lately I’ve started giving talks in local schools with Tom (Cheney, his trainer) but I don’t work as much as I did as a personal trainer because now I have proper, intense training camps, with all the PR and press requirements and pressures to sell tickets, I just don’t have time.’ he says.
‘But I really enjoy the stuff I’ve started doing on BoxNation. The media fascinates me, I don’t give much credence to all the hype and waffle, just the fighting aspect. I pick up knowledge by watching loads of videos in my free time, studying styles of the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Ali, Duran and my hero Marvin Hagler.
‘I’ve also got my own column in the Albion match day programme. I’ll always be involved in boxing and I’d love one of the plum analyst jobs but to get them, you have to achieve something as a fighter first.’
And that’s something he fully intends to rectify in 2016.
‘I’d certainly not shy from a British or Commonwealth title fight but Chris Eubank Jr is mandatory and I don’t think the champion Nick Blackwell, with whom I’m friendly, would choose to fight me as a voluntary,’ says Langford.
‘Right now, I’m just working on getting rounds under my belt. I need opponents who can try to walk through me, force me to box on the back foot.
‘But I’ve done lots of sparring with championship level fighters of the calibre of Frankie Gavin, Liam and Callum Smith, Liam Williams and Chris Eubank Jr. They all bring different styles and spar hard but I always turn up and represent. I know I’m ready.’
Frank Warren’s end of year title extravaganza ‘X-Mas Cracker’ is headlined by two massive world title showdowns with WBO World Middleweight Champion Andy Lee defending his title against Billy Joe Saunders and WBO World Super-Welterweight Champion Liam Smith making his first title defence against Jimmy Kelly. A staggering SIX further titles are on the line with Mitchell Smith defending his WBO Intercontinental Super-Featherweight title against George Jupp; Paul Butler challenges for the Vacant WBO European Super-Flyweight Championship against Silvio Olteanu; Tommy Langford defends his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Championship; Commonwealth Super-Welterweight Champion Liam Williams and Kris Carslaw clash with the Vacant British title also on the line; Jack Catterall defends his WBO Intercontinental Super-Lightweight Championship, and Adrian Gonzalez defends his WBO Intercontinental Lightweight Championship. The undercard features Merseyside favourite Derry Mathews in an eight-round contest ahead of his WBO World Lightweight title challenge against Terry Flanagan in February, Indian superstar Vijender Singh and top Manchester prospects Jack Flattley and Dale Coyne.
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