Photo Credit – (@SkySports)
The Fight Diary was lucky enough to interview the current and undefeated British middleweight champion Tommy Langford 18-0 (6ko’s). The 27-year-old has just announced he will be facing Georgian dangerman Avtandil Khurtsidze for the interim WBO middleweight title.
Tommy, you are a major part of Boxnation’s new deal with BT Sport and will be at the forefront of their lucrative acquisition. How does it feel to be part of something which has the potential to take over boxing in the UK?
It’s fantastic to be part of it and to be topping one of the first bills on the new platform. As keeps being stated, this is going to bring boxing into a new era and I know everyone involved is very happy and looking forward to an exciting future. You only have to look at the schedule and I think currently in the first 2 months of BT sport coverage Frank has lined up no less than 4 world Title bills all Britain based which is a great BT launch but also fantastic for British boxing!
You have very recently announced a fight against Avtandil Khurtsidze for the WBO interim middleweight title on April 22nd. This is an extremely tough fight with the Georgian fighter boasting a record of 32-2-2 (21ko’s). How are you expecting this to pan out?
As you have stated it’s a very tough fight. The Georgian has a relentless style and is very strong. That being said he only really has one way of fighting and that’s quite simply relentless pressure. The big ace in the pack I believe I hold over him, is that I’m undoubtedly a better all round boxer and that is what I believe will be the deciding factor in the fight. It is bound to be fought at a frantic pace given we both have high-octane styles but obviously I aim to out box him and when I need to I’ll stand up and fight him off!
If you come through successful in your bout against Khurtsidze, you will be in line to face WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders providing he is still the holder at the time. You are both stablemates and friends. Would that be a fight you are hoping for or would you like to go down other avenues?
Inevitably it puts me in that position but I’m hearing rumours Billy Joe has a massive fight in the summer and effectively should that happen then winner of my fight will be mandated to the winner of Billy Joe’s fight. We did want the fight with Billy Joe but understandably he’s going for a mega fight. I wish him all the luck, I hope he comes through and we can then fight!
Photo Credit – (@Boxnation)
You were last in action at the latter stages of 2016 when you faced undefeated Sam Sheedy for the vacant British middleweight title. Most had you the clear favourite going into the fight but Sheedy proved a tougher opponent than everyone expected. What did you learn from that fight and how does it feel to hold such a prestigious belt?
Being British Champion is a huge achievement and one I’m very proud of. Talking honestly though, it’s an achievement I always knew I should accomplish whether that’s right or not. I don’t know but when that’s your belief it puts a lot of pressure on yourself and I don’t believe I’ve fought at my best yet because I’ve always gone into fights with a preconceived expectation of what I should do and how I should do it. Now I’ve become British champion it feels a weight has been lifted and quite simply I can relax and push on. Every fight from here on in is tough because they will all be British level and above so there are no more expectations, the one and only important thing is winning!
Prior to fighting Sheedy for the vacant title, you were scheduled in to face Chris Eubank Jr until he pulled out. He claimed it was partly due to an injury and partly due to a quote “I fear for the wellbeing of my opponents” What are your thoughts on Eubank Jr and how did you feel when the fight fell through?
It’s been well documented what I think of their decisions and to be honest I’m fed up of talking about the Eubanks. The fact is they ducked the fight with me for whatever reason. Too bigger risk to their earning potential I believe. The statement has proved to be a load of rubbish. They feared for my safety apparently when I was 17-0 commonwealth champ but then went to fight an 11-1 Australian nobody knew. I think that tells you everything you need to know about the Eubanks.
We have only been in 2017 for 2 months but with the fights we’ve already seen and the fights that are scheduled in, 2017 is looking like an incredible year and most definitely a better year than 2016. Why do you think most boxing fans felt that 2016 was an unsuccessful year for boxing?
I’m not sure that they did as there were some cracking fights in 2016. However I think fans feel let down by PPV events that aren’t really justified and maybe the fact that 2016 didn’t see the big names risk it all by fighting one another. Hopefully that changes this year.
Photo Credit – (@SkySports)
Besides yourself, Frank Warren has lined up an incredible stable now since adding his new fighters. The BT Sport deal has really benefited him and enabled him to grow his platform into something that appeals to fighters. Where do you think Frank would have been without the backing of BT Sport?
You can’t really say that because he has got the BT sport deal, but one thing you can say about Frank is that he always finds a way to get things done and his knowledge of promoting boxing is unparalleled. He would be doing what he’s doing now one way or the other and succeeding in doing so!
As part of Boxnation’s 2017 schedule we have a potential fight of the year on our hands in Liam Smith v Liam Williams. How do you see this fight panning out and why do you think we don’t have many competitive fights like this as often as we should?
Firstly I have sparred both and am good friends with both so I’m not going to comment on the fight apart from saying it’s going to be a cracker. I think the reason why we don’t always see these fights is a case of risk to reward. Fights have to make sense to fighters financially as well as benefit the progression of their careers otherwise quite simply they won’t happen. It’s very hard to balance the 2 aspects.
Avtandil Khurtsidze was due to face Billy Joe Saunders as he was the number one mandatory. He was allowed a step aside fight to allow BJS to pursue a mega fight elsewhere. Assuming you know Billy’s opponent, is it as big as we are all hoping for?
Haha! I’m sure it’s Big enough for everyone.
What three fights are you hoping will get made this year?
GGG vs Canelo
Joshua vs Wilder or Tyson Fury vs Wilder
Thurman vs Winner of Brook vs Spence
Thank you to Tommy Langford for his time. We appreciate him giving us this opportunity to interview him and wish him well in his upcoming fight for the WBO interim middleweight title