The ‘Battle of the Baggies’ between the two West Brom FC fans on May 4 at the Walsall Town Hall was a deserved winner that beat nominees including two-weight world champion Carl Frampton vs four-division titlist Nonito Donaire.
The local rivalry between the Baggies resulted in the closest of decisions with two ringside judges ruling Welborn (23-6) the winner with scores of 114-113, and the third judge awarding it Langford (20-2) at 115-113.
Welborn, 31, had two previous attempts at the British title at welterweight against Frankie Gavin and Liam Smith at super-welterweight – both thwarted by body shots in the mid-rounds, but on his third crack at the crown, he got his tactics just right.
Welborn started brightly and rocked Langford in the second round with a heavy left hook, causing referee Terry O’Connor to step in and give the champion, propped up by the ropes, a standing eight-count.
Langford responded as a true champion by coming back to boss the rest of the fight, dictating the pace behind a stiff jab and flashing one-twos.
The championship rounds then saw the challenger come on strong for a big finish, which was just enough to steal the decision and dethrone his close enemy. The 10-8 round in the second segment proved pivotal in swaying the decision his way on the BCB Promotions event.
Wellborn, a two-weight Midlands Area champion and WBC International Silver middleweight titlist, was obliged to give Langford an immediate rematch, which was scheduled for September 8 on the undercard of Amir Khan’s fight with Samuel Vargas.
The replay was even better than the first, which will likely see it nominated in next year’s awards. This time, Langford received two eight-counts when he hit the deck in the dying seconds of the opener, followed by a heavy knockdown in the third.
Despite the writing visibly on the wall, Langford rallied back and completely dominated every round of the British championship contest, desperate to overcome the deficit to win back his Lonsdale belt. The final round saw two warriors go out on their shield in frantic fashion to finish the fight fittingly.
Langford’s brave efforts were once again not quite enough to seal the decision as Welborn once again nicked it by a single point, which many onlookers felt was not the right decision.
A third fight is unlikely as Welborn faces Mark Heffron next and Langford looks to move up to super-middleweight.