Unbeaten middleweight prospect, Tommy Langford takes some time out to go 12 rounds with BBN as he gets in some vital rest ahead of his 11th pro outing at Wolverhampton Civic Centre on October 24th as he looks to continue his unbeaten run with a win over Gary Boulden.
The Devonshire lad who enjoyed a stellar amateur career boxing for England is now a Frank Warren fighter settled in Birmingham. A team-mate of Frankie Gavin's, the 25-year-old university graduate talks to us about his pro debut, his hardest opponent to date and what aspirations he has for 2015.
September 2012 was your professional debut against Steve Spence at the HMV Institute, Birmingham. What do you remember of that special night? “That night was a brilliant night for me. The feeling was unreal, I'd never had that kind of support for a fight before and the atmosphere was electric. I remember being very nervous before but once I got in the ring, I felt really comfortable and enjoyed every minute of it. That buzz for my pro debut was the equivalent of what I felt for a national final in the amateurs. Despite the fight not being of the same importance as many of my prior amateur fights, it was still a big moment for me.”
So, two years on, what differences have there been between that 23-year-old debutant and the Tommy Langford we're seeing today? “Two years on, the first and possibly the biggest difference is I'm now a proper middleweight and always getting stronger at it in comparison to the light middle that I was back then. Now I am promoted by Frank Warren which has made a big difference to me. I have gained in confidence since that happened and in the last six months have started to really settle down, feel comfortable and perform with more authority. Technically, despite the strength increase, I feel that I've become more adapted to the pros, I'm more patient and delivering more effective punches at the right times as opposed to perhaps rushing my work which is what I did as an amateur and early on as a pro.”
Three of your last four opponents have had more wins than losses on their ledger, does this indicate that you are about to take a step up in your career? “It's just a natural progression. I started off with the usual suspects such as the tough, durable British journeymen but over the past year I needed to be in the ring with competitors who were going to have the ambition to win and not just survive which is what we did and the plan is, yes, to keep progressing and start challenging for titles very soon.”
How do you feel about the progression of your career now that you have reached a milestone of 10 wins unbeaten? “I feel pleased, it's all gone to plan so far, I've learned a lot and progressed from each fight. I've brought more things into my training. I feel I've got myself into a position where I am ready to make that step up.”
Who has been the hardest opponent of your professional career to date? “It's a funny question really because thus far I've not lost a round so I wouldn't say I've found a fight tough, as such, but the fighters that I probably didn't deal with his style as well as perhaps I should have was Alistair Warren. Despite never being in trouble and landing a lot of punches the work I was doing wasn't always keen to the eye so since then we've made adjustments to better deal with opponents like that.”
What performance of your 10 fights are you most pleased with? “I would say my most pleasing performance was my latest win over Nicky Jenman. I showed I could finish fights, I carried the work that we had done in the gym into the ring and it was in front of a packed Wolves Civic which meant a lot of support on the night for me.”
Gary Boulden is your next opponent. He has enjoyed wins over the current British Masters Gold super middleweight champion, Lee Markham and also the former English middleweight champion, Kreshnik Qato; how have you prepared for him? “Despite a record of 7-15, Boulden is an undervalued fighter. He has got good boxing ability, is quite slippery and comes to win every round. Therefore, I'm expecting a tough fight and I'm going to have to work hard for every round. I have enjoyed a good camp where I've been sparring a mix of different fighters so all angles are covered. Everything is coming together nicely and I'm looking forward to putting the game plan into action on the 24th.”
Who helps you to prepare for fight night? Let's hear about your team - trainers, managers, promoters, sparring partners and supporters. “My Trainer is Tommy Chaney and he is absolutely fantastic. He is the boss in the gym and is responsible for all my perpetration. Tom is very professional in everything that he does, which is exactly what is needed. He knows me inside-out as he trained me from the amateurs so knows what I need to do when in terms of both training and key moments in fights. My manager and cut man is Jon Pegg. Jon has been on board since I first turned pro, he has got me the right fights in order to build me up and keep learning. My Promoter is Frank Warren, since signing with Frank I have been out regularly, experienced great exposure by being on BoxNation and have been well paid so I am very happy man! In terms of sparring partners, I spar a wide variety of people but most regularly I spar my gym-mate, Frankie Gavin early in camp so we both get our sharpness back. I have done quite a lot with Andrew Robinson who’s a big, strong super middleweight and for the last two camps have enjoyed some real high quality sparring with Liam Williams, which has got me really sharp so is something I hope that we can continue. My fans are unreal, I have a big fan base in Birmingham which is always building. I'm a big West Brom fan so I'm trying to crack into getting more of the Baggies contingent to my fights. Probably my wildest and most loyal fans are from Devon as lived there ‘til I was 17 and every fight a load of them travel up on a coach and I don't think they stop singing the whole time they’re in the venue. They're nuts!”
What's next for Tommy Langford after this fight? “Obviously, I can't look past this fight. Providing that I get a good win on this one, I will be looking to get some titles under my belt in the New Year. I'd love to fight again before Christmas but if that doesn't happen then I am going to use the next couple of months to get out there, hopefully sparring with some of the domestic best at both middle and super middle to gain some high quality experience.”
How would you like to start 2015 and how do you envisage ending it? “I envisage 2015 being another successful year for me. I would like to think that I will be stepping up to 10 round fights or titles in the first half of the year and then to continue to progress to get myself into a position for some big domestic titles / fights towards the end of the year.”
A little bonus question for you on the two most talked about middleweights in the country right now - Billy Joe and Eubank Jr. - who wins and why? “I feel quite strongly on this and that it's all Billy Joe for me. He has a huge boxing pedigree, he has proved himself at a very high level and against the toughest of opposition on offer to him. Eubank on the other hand hasn't fought anyone of significance. Yes, he's knocking people out but they are standing right in front of him allowing him to load up. When he did fight British opposition he wasn't overly impressive against the likes of Jason Ball, Terry Carruthers and Tyan Booth. They were all not great performances to name a few that spring to mind. He's fought a lot of pumped up light middles and in some cases, welterweights. That all being said, he is an unknown commodity so I think that is what makes it interesting to the public but so long as Billy Joe doesn't get mixed up too emotionally, I think he'll put on a performance and take Eubank apart.”
Any message for the fans? “Keep supporting me as it’s only going to get better, I’m looking to progress and get a title and your support will drive me on.”
Tickets priced at £35 for standard and £55 for ringside and are available directly from Team Langford on 07805 613757.
Tommy Langford would like to thank his sponsors, MAN Commercial Protection, RPM Cars, Strategy Plus Web Design, Atlas Pain Relief and Ringside UK. To follow Tommy Langford on Twitter click here https://twitter.com/Tommy_Langford1