Recently coronated Commonwealth middleweight king Tommy Langford has developed a flavour for championship belts and identifies Chris Eubank Jr’s Lonsdale Belt as next on his wishlist, writes Glynn Evans.
Turbo Tommy, who also holds the WBO Inter-Continental strap, earned his Commonwealth honour with a high grade, high octane 12 round decision over fellow Midlander Lewis Taylor at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in March. Now unbeaten in 16, he is starting to get greedy.
‘I understand Eubank’s mandatory will be issued in September and I hope it’s me,’ says the 26 year old former England amateur captain who was born in Barnstable, Devon but is now based in Birmingham.
‘The Eubanks seldom abide by the rules but, if it’s me, I’ve no issue with taking it. I need a scalp of his magnitude to project my profile and, because of his dad, Eubank is the biggest name on the scene.
‘We’ve sparred in the recent past and, though you can’t take too much into that, I know what he does well and what he doesn’t do well and believe my style exploits his. Sure, Chris Jr is dangerous but Billy Joe (Saunders) exposed his limitations with his quality and movement. I’d be confident.’
The spat with Taylor provided quality fare for the fans but sports science graduate Langford is shrewd enough to know he’ll need to smarten up his act considerably if he’s to thwart the precocious Eubank.
‘It was great to be involved in such an entertaining fight but I’m always very critical of myself, always craving the perfect performance and when I watched the tape back I weren’t happy,’ acknowledges Langford who re-surfaces this weekend with a fourth defence of his Inter-Continental bauble at Cardiff Ice Arena.
‘My approach was all wrong. Lewis made a very good start, I was a bit slow out the blocks and, thereafter, I lost track of my plan. I’m known for my energy so every time Taylor hit me with one, I tried to hit him back with three and made a lot of mistakes. I was far better in the gym during camp.
‘I know how good I can be defensively but I was leaky, got caught far too much. It was mental sloppiness as much as anything. I’ve taken on board the criticisms and really worked on making corrections. I intend righting a few wrongs in Cardiff.
‘That said, it shows how hard I am to beat, if I won 10 rounds out of 12 on all judges cards against a decent opponent on what supposedly was an ‘off night’. It was very pleasing to collect the Commonwealth title. While my WBO InterContinental belt gets me a high world ranking, the public seem to view the Commonwealth belt as more prestigious. It’s a very big deal in north Devon!’
The smooth boxing six footer’s recent championship exploits have catapulted him to a number two world ranking at the WBO. A challenge to champion Billy Joe Saunders – who also operates under the Frank Warren umbrella – would be easy to organise and would provide a paradise match-up for the sport’s purists.
‘If the Saunders fight was offered, I’d definitely take it because, though Billy Joe is top quality, I believe he’s beatable. And if the other alternative is ‘Triple G’…!’ chuckles Tommy.
‘My style and work rate are a nightmare for southpaws and I’ve also got the experience of hundreds of rounds sparring with (former world amateur champion) Frankie Gavin, one of the slickest southpaws in the business.
‘Realistically, I’m not looking to force the Billy Joe fight immediately because I’m not sure the public would buy into it right now. It’d be far more ideal to have it in a year’s time – especially if we’re both undefeated.’
To that end, he’ll need to sparkle this Saturday against Timo Laine who arrives unbeaten in his last 5 and will no doubt be keen to cause an upset in front of a packed Ice Arena Wales.
‘I needed a good break after the Taylor fight because I’d become a bit flat but now I feel refreshed,’ insists Langford who is coached by Tom Chaney in Hall Green.
‘It’s a fantastic bill to be part of. Cardiff is a great location for me, a half way point for both my Brummie and north Devon fans so hopefully I’ll bring a good crowd. I’ve got great travelling support.