Tommy Langford has developed a flavor for championship belts and identifies Chris Eubank Jr’s Lonsdale Belt as next on his wishlist, writes Glynn Evans.
Turbo Tommy, who also holds the WBO Inter-Continental strap, earned his Commonwealth honour with a high grade, high octane 12 round decision over fellow Midlander Lewis Taylor at Liverpool’s Echo Arena in March. Now unbeaten in 16, he is starting to get greedy.
‘I understand Eubank’s mandatory will be issued in September and I hope it’s me,’ says the 26 year old former England amateur captain who was born in Barnstable, Devon but is now based in Birmingham.
‘The Eubanks seldom abide by the rules but, if it’s me, I’ve no issue with taking it. I need a scalp of his magnitude to project my profile and, because of his dad, Eubank is the biggest name on the scene.
‘We’ve sparred in the recent past and, though you can’t take too much into that, I know what he does well and what he doesn’t do well and believe my style exploits his. Sure, Chris Jr is dangerous but Billy Joe (Saunders) exposed his limitations with his quality and movement. I’d be confident.’
The spat with Taylor provided quality fare for the fans but sports science graduate Langford is shrewd enough to know he’ll need to smarten up his act considerably if he’s to thwart the precocious Eubank.
‘It was great to be involved in such an entertaining fight but I’m always very critical of myself, always craving the perfect performance and when I watched the tape back I weren’t happy,’ acknowledges Langford who re-surfaces this weekend with a fourth defence of his Inter-Continental bauble at Cardiff Ice Arena.
‘My approach was all wrong. Lewis made a very good start, I was a bit slow out the blocks and, thereafter, I lost track of my plan. I’m known for my energy so every time Taylor hit me with one, I tried to hit him back with three and made a lot of mistakes. I was far better in the gym during camp.
‘I know how good I can be defensively but I was leaky, got caught far too much. It was mental sloppiness as much as anything. I’ve taken on board the criticisms and really worked on making corrections. I intend righting a few wrongs in Cardiff.
‘That said, it shows how hard I am to beat, if I won 10 rounds out of 12 on all judges cards against a decent opponent on what supposedly was an ‘off night’. It was very pleasing to collect the Commonwealth title. While my WBO InterContinental belt gets me a high world ranking, the public seem to view the Commonwealth belt as more prestigious. It’s a very big deal in north Devon!’
The smooth boxing six footer’s recent championship exploits have catapulted him to a number two world ranking at the WBO. A challenge to champion Billy Joe Saunders – who also operates under the Frank Warren umbrella – would be easy to organise and would provide a paradise match-up for the sport’s purists.
‘If the Saunders fight was offered, I’d definitely take it because, though Billy Joe is top quality, I believe he’s beatable. And if the other alternative is ‘Triple G’…!’ chuckles Tommy.
‘My style and work rate are a nightmare for southpaws and I’ve also got the experience of hundreds of rounds sparring with (former world amateur champion) Frankie Gavin, one of the slickest southpaws in the business.
‘Realistically, I’m not looking to force the Billy Joe fight immediately because I’m not sure the public would buy into it right now. It’d be far more ideal to have it in a year’s time – especially if we’re both undefeated.’
To that end, he’ll need to sparkle this Saturday against Timo Laine who arrives unbeaten in his last 5 and will no doubt be keen to cause an upset in front of a packed Ice Arena Wales.
‘I needed a good break after the Taylor fight because I’d become a bit flat but now I feel refreshed,’ insists Langford who is coached by Tom Chaney in Hall Green.
‘It’s a fantastic bill to be part of. Cardiff is a great location for me, a half way point for both my Brummie and north Devon fans so hopefully I’ll bring a good crowd. I’ve got great travelling support.
Liam Williams vs. Gary Corcoran Update
Wembley warlord Gary ‘Hellraiser’ Corcoran is threatening to bring his own brand of fire and brimstone to heat up Cardiff Ice Arena this Saturday, writes Glynn Evans.
The unbeaten 25 year old from Irish travelling stock has a score to settle with local fancy Liam Williams after the champion manhandled him at a recent press meet to publicise this weekend’s salivating British and Commonwealth light-middle showdown.
‘Williams said he’d knock me out at the face-off and our heads went into each other. Then he took a liberty and slapped me. I should’ve given him a slap back but he backed away sharpish. I’ll be touching him back in the face with interest in the ring on Saturday night!’ threatens Corcoran, the third eldest of 12 children in a famous fighting family.
A reformed bad lad who was excluded from school on 19 occasions for scrapping without the gloves, the ‘Hellraiser’ was something of a novelty act when he joined the paid brigade as a free swinging light-welter in November 2011.
However, since linking with cockney tandem Frank Greaves and Peter Stanley at The Peacock Gym in Canning Town last year, the west Londoner has evolved into a far more measured proposition.
Over the past 12 months the bull strong, turbo charged terror has thwarted credible contenders Rick Godding (unbeaten in 22), Rick Skelton (undefeated in 13) and Danny Butler (25-5) in taxing 10 rounders. Education served, he is now frothing to be let off his leash.
‘I’ve picked up a lot of experience with my three 10 rounders, experience that Williams doesn’t have,’ claims Corcoran.
‘All those fights could all have been eliminators or for minor titles. Unlike the opposition Williams has faced, they all came to win the fight yet none of them came close to pushing me to my limit.’
This weekend the man who resides on a Paddington caravan site roams across The Severn Bridge for a ‘straightener’ with Rhondda hard man Williams that one senses would not be out of place on a valley mountain top.
‘Challenging in Cardiff excites me very much,’ insists Corcoran, and you tend to believe him.
‘I’ll thrive off having a big crowd against me. It’ll push me on. It’ll be hostile but I don’t think it’ll be nasty. Besides, I’m a traveller who’s witnessed a lot of unpleasant things in my life. I’m coming for war!’
‘I’ve had a really good camp. I trained for a week and a half over in Cuba, I’ve been over in Ireland and I’ve been sparring Kell Brook and Bradley Skeete in England. Quality work. I know from sparring world champions that, the better my opposition, the more I’ll step it up.’
Champion Williams is commonly perceived as one of the most exciting and most gifted prizefighters to emerge from the Principality in years but, having scrutinized the evidence, Corcoran concludes that the latest Prince of Wales is seriously over-rated.
‘Look, Liam’s a good prospect but he’s fought no one,’ says Gary.
‘He rants about scraping me off the floor. Well, he can try but I’ve never been knocked off my feet in my life. Danny Butler had knocked plenty of good men out but couldn’t dent me. Liam’s a decent puncher but not a massive puncher. He’s deluded and he’s made for me!
‘I’ve got all the tools to beat him. Liam says I’ve no (boxing) brain but I’m just as tall (5ft 10) and can box him off the jab just as much as I can batter him up close. Whatever he comes with, I’ve got plans A, B and C. Let him pick which one I beat him with! Perhaps I’ll even do a Tyson Fury and fight him southpaw!
‘Liam’s trouble is he sees the red mist too quickly. When I told him I’d meet him mid ring at the presser, he reacted immediately. That was me a year or so ago. Immature.
‘If he meets me mid ring, I guarantee I’ll put him on the back foot. I’m stronger than him, faster than him and I use my head more. I’ll beat him because of the brain he says I haven’t got!’