Birmingham’s Tommy Langford (18-1) clashes with Blackpool’s Jack Arnfield (24-2) in a maiden defence of his British middleweight title on the Groves v Eubank Jr undercard in Manchester on February 17.
It was back in November 2016 when the ‘Baggies Bomber’ bagged the Lonsdale belt with a mixed decision over Sheffield’s Sam Sheedy.
The British middleweight championship contest between champion Langford and mandatory challenger Arnfield is set to be an exciting and intriguing 50-50 fight for the purists between two of the best operators in the British 160-pound scene.
It’s too close to call so BBN asked their panel of experts what they think:
Miles Shinkwin Former Southern Area light-heavyweight champion
“Haven’t seen much of Arnfield but sparred a lot of rounds with Tommy.
He’s technically very efficient and strong for a middleweight. Also, a top bloke.
Based on our spars alone, I’m going for Tommy to grind out a points win.”
Nicky Jenman Former Southern Area middleweight champion
"I've fought them both and Langford will be too strong for Arnfield.
I'm going with Langford to win via stoppage in the late rounds."
Matty Askin British cruiserweight champion
"I'm going for my teammate Jack Arnfield.
He'll be too sharp and rangey, and I think his style is perfect for Langford.
Jack Arnfield on points."
Nathan Wheatley Unbeaten middleweight
"I'm going with Arnfield on this one.
I know Jack so I'll be routing for him."
Jamie Speight Three-time Southern Area champion
"As a former amateur opponent of Tommy's, I know what he is about and I've watched his progression in the pro ranks. He has a fantastic work rate, great punch variation, and he's powered by a decent engine and the will to succeed.
Jack doesn't seem to carry the power to hurt Tommy, giving Tom the chance to concentrate on his boxing correctly.
Tommy is very technically gifted and I think this will be the difference. He will use his fantastic straight shots and speed of hand to pip Arnfield to a points win."
Steve Wood VIP Promotions
“I’m bias because I manage Jack Arnfield and therefore go for him to win.
I believe they are very similar in styles and therefore will be a great fight and just think the freshness of Jack will be too much for Tommy down the stretch and he will pull away for a clear points win.”
Tey Lynn Jones Middleweight prospect
“Great 50/50 fight on paper, both being fighters at a turning point in their careers, currently on different roads, as Langford is still on the recovery path after his KO loss to Khurtsidze, and Arnfield is on a good winning streak coming through a couple of very good opponents in Ryder and Rose.
But, I believe if Langford’s head is right he will be able to come through Arnfield’s good jab and prove too strong and fit.
It really depends on how good Arnfield will be able to box and move and keep Langford at bay.
Langford on points, for me.”
Andy Gatenby Retired unbeaten professional boxer
“Both boxers have a good style, both like to work off the jab and work through phases of attack.
I see this being close for the first 4-6 rounds, but Langford’s strength and better punch selection will take over down the stretch.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he forces the late stoppage.”
Danny Flexen Boxing Writer
"Jack Arnfield is on an impressive six-fight winning streak since losing his last British title challenge, on points, to then-holder Nick Blackwell. That run of form has included standout victories over John Ryder, Mick Hall and Brian Rose.
Rangy and busy, Arnfield can give anyone a tough night. Langford is arguably still finding his feet as British champion, having not defended the Lonsdale Belt he won (vacant) over a year ago against tricky Sam Sheedy. A punishing five-round defeat to Avtandil Khurtidze followed that - for the WBO Interim belt - and Langford, a strong and technically skilled operator, only returned with a facile six-rounder in October.
Langford was overpowered in his only defeat but Arnfield is not a puncher. Key to this contest is whether Langford can stick to his boxing and not get involved in a brawl - the latter could lead to him getting outworked and losing on the cards. Tommy has not always been able to resist a tear-up and will have to dig in at times but should have enough extra class to edge this on points".
Sam Jones Manager of Joe Joyce
“I think Jack Arnfield will take it. I think it’ll be really close, but I expect Arnfield to win on points.”
Dan Blackwell Professional middleweight boxer
“I've fought both and I think that Tommy Langford will probably lose the first few rounds just getting jabbed away. I found that Tommy didn’t box me but rather fight me, but I’d imagine he’d change his style for Arnfield.
I think Tommy Langford will probably win on points, because I don’t think he’ll stop him. My bro fought Arnfield for his British title and put him down in the third round. He hit him with a lot more big shots but still he stayed in there right ‘til the end."
Tim Rickson Sports Agent
“I’m Tommy’s agent, so I’ll be backing him, obviously.
Tommy has a point to prove in this fight, and I know how much he wants to send out a statement to everybody to prove himself the best middleweight in Britain.
Arnfield is a class fighter and he’s had some impressive scalps of late – John Ryder and Brian Rose. Both he and Tommy are very similar boxers in that they stand up tall, very technical, intelligent, busy, good jabs, long reach.
It’s a 50-50 fight on paper – the champion versus the no.1 contender – but I believe Tommy’s skills are superior and I predict that he will dominate early, all the way a points win.”
Joseph Siza British Boxing News Contributor
“It's an intriguing matchup for the British title between two very tall middleweights, and a great addition to the Groves-Eubank card.
Arnfield has a lot of momentum going for him, with big wins against John Ryder, Mick Hall and Brian Rose, whilst Langford has only competed in a six-rounder since his stoppage loss to Khurtsidze last April.
However, I believe the superior boxing skills lie with Langford and he will defeat Arnfield over the distance.”
Brad Pauls Unbeaten middleweight
"I believe Tommy Langford will get the win on points.
I expect it will be close and competitive, but I believe he has too much skill and will be too strong for Arnfield.
So, to summarise, I'm going with Langford via unanimous points win."
Niall Doran Boxing News & Views Editor
“Great clash of domestic middleweights with a lot on the line for both guys.
I think Tommy Langford, coming off a big learning year in 2017, will be chomping at the bit for this and will just have enough in a possibly close, hard-fought points victory.”
Chris Glover Boxing Journalist
“Great fight firstly.
It's a real 50/50 fight and a hard one to call. I'd have to go with Tommy Langford, however.
For me, he's more experienced and has a bit more variety than Arnfield.
However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Arnfield win if he can pick Langford off on the back foot.”