PUT Tommy Langford in a ring in front of thousands of jeering spectators and the professional boxer will not be intimidated.
Place him in front of 400 school pupils and the challenge is very different.
Langford took time out of his busy schedule to deliver an inspirational speech at Braunton Academy before standing in the firing line of some unusual questions and providing a taster boxing session.
The Bideford-born boxer believes that, with a scarce amount of professional athletes coming from North Devon, it is important for those who make it to give back to the community – even if it means stepping out of their comfort zone.
“It is so hard to work yourself up to a professional rank in sport and even more difficult if you are from North Devon,” said Langford.
“But professional athletes can help show kids it’s possible to achieve high goals if you really put your mind to it.
“I am a professional boxer but my speeches aren’t narrowed down to sport, I hope to motivate and inspire children to achieve their best in business, art, history or whatever they are interested in.
“I really value education and I think it’s important for youngsters to keep pursuing knowledge and use it hand-in-hand with sport.
“I owe a lot to my parents as they are both teachers and they have been a big influence in getting me out there delivering classes to schools.
“Boxing is my comfort zone and getting into a ring with thousands of fans is where I want to be but delivering speeches and going on stage in front of people, especially kids, can be nerve-racking.”
Langford was subjected to an onslaught of questions from eager pupils.
They ranged from the lighthearted to more serious queries on the morals of boxing and fighting.
Head of PE Jamie Frickleton said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity to help give the kids an insight into the life of a professional athlete.
“It is very hard to find people of his calibre so we jumped at the opportunity.
“In schools we aren’t allowed to teach boxing so it is nice for the pupils to learn more about the sport and they could be inspired to join the local clubs.”
TOMMY’S TOP 5 QUESTIONS
Who is your role model?
My parents. They have always been a big influence and, even though sometimes my mum watches my fights with her hands in front of her eyes, they are always there to support me and give advice.
Have you ever cried?
Yes and I think it is an important part of sport. There is no shame in crying after defeat. It is just a way of showing how much the sport means to you.
Have you ever been knocked out?
No, I haven’t and, touch wood, I never will.
Can you still eat McDonald’s?
When I am not training I might have the odd burger but when I am in training I have a really strict diet and live off chicken and rice.
Have you ever been in fights outside the ring?
No, and you should never use violence in any shape or form. As a professional, if I was to get in a fight my career would be over. You have to remember to only use what you learn at boxing in the ring.
Read more: http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/Pro-boxer-Tommy-Langford-visits-Braunton-Academy/story-25087073-detail/story.html#ixzz3KuMUydhq
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