We had a chance to catch up with middleweight contender Tommy Langford recently and as always with talking to Tommy, we had an interesting interview.
Here is the transcript of our conversation:
You finished 2017 with a win after some disappointment earlier in the year, what’s the plan for 2018?
“At the moment, I don’t really have a plan for the whole year. My first fight is February 17, so I’m focused on defending my British title and just to win that first fight. Last year was a slow year, for me, so really want to get back in the driving seat and be performing regularly, so that’s all I want from 2018. My plan is to keep winning, to get back up the ladder; obviously I would love to fight for the European title and a world title, but I’m not setting any goals; just got to keep winning and moving up to those platforms.”
How do you access the middleweight division domestically and on the world stage at the moment?
“Domestically, very good. The middleweight division is always competitive, it always has been a good division. There’s good competition out there already and good lads coming through the ranks, there’s always upsets happening, good scalps being taken because it’s a competitive division, there’s good ones to watch; as a middleweight, you’ve got to be on the ball all the time, because it’s so hard to remain undefeated, because there’s so many good fighters out there. It’s hard to keep on top of the up and coming prospects. Anyone that has remained undefeated, domestically, which I am at the moment, has earned their credit, really.
World stage, as always, middleweight is a great division. You’ve got the likes of world champs Billy Joe Saunders and Gennady Golovkin, and you’ve got to throw Canelo in amongst that mix as well. It would be great to see that unification fight between BJS and GGG happen this year.
Not ignoring the pool below them, of course, anyone from the top-20 is a talent – Jacobs, Charlo, Andrade – tough boxers, good punchers, lots of ability.
The champions are champions for a reason; BJS, GGG and Canelo are all very good in their own right for different reasons. I always thought Billy Joe, a stablemate of mine, was capable of beating David Lemieux in the fashion that he did, but the fact that he actually carried it out really shows where his head is at the moment. Hopefully that sets up the unification fight this year. I think Golovkin beats Canelo, and I think he won that first fight, but I’m hoping he will get the decision in the rematch to set up the unification fight with Billy Joe. Then, I would like to be up there in that mix with them, but got a job to do domestically first.”
What did 2017 teach you?
“I learnt a lot of things last year. I learnt about difference in levels between domestic and world stage. It’s not all necessarily technique or technical ability, it’s a lot to do with mental discipline, which I didn’t have in my fight with Avtandil Khurtsidze.
I learnt a lot about the outside of boxing, the way the game works, the risk-taking, and how much it means to be fighting regularly. I understand now why other fighters turn down fights that aren’t right for them and choose to sit behind undefeated records for longer.
I really got to grips with the business side of boxing, that was a big learning curve in 2017 in a lot of respects. There’s no doubt it’s been a big learning year for me, but it will stand me in good stead for the future.”
How do you think wins the Golovkin vs Canelo rematch?
“I said just now that I want Golovkin to win because I think he won the first one. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to get this fight over the line to try to reach a level playing field, it’s about who buckles on the demands to make the fight happen. Hopefully, it happens in May and if it does then I’d back GGG to win. I don’t see how Canelo can change a great deal to what he did in their fight the first time round, he didn’t have the desired effect what he wanted to have on Golovkin.
If the fight takes longer to set, then Golovkin’s age, waiting around and not fighting could have an effect on him. Canelo is young still and can use the time to better serve him than a 37-year-old can. I really hope that doesn’t happen. Politics of boxing about where the fight happens, the judges at ringside can influence the result. Vegas is Canelo’s territory and could sway judges when the fight takes place there, it definitely happened the first time. Will it sway them again? Really hard fight to pick a winner, but, in terms of the better boxer and performer, I’d go with Golovkin; he’s shown time and again throughout his whole career. I’d side with Golovkin to win, but wouldn’t be surprised if Canelo snuck in with a dubious decision!”