UNBEATEN middleweight prospect, Tommy Langford (14-0) gave Boxing News Online his views on today’s tantalising world title clash between WBO World middleweight champion, Andy Lee (34-2-1) and stylish challenger, Billy Joe Saunders (22-0).
The history-making bout will be the first world title contested between two boxers from the travelling community and is arguably the most anticipated fight of the year.
Langford, an unbeaten 160lbs prospect from Birmingham, appears on the same bill on December 19 in Manchester defending his WBO Inter-Continental middleweight belt against Polish national champion, Robert Swierzbinski (15-4), live on BoxNation TV.
The 26-year-old born in North Devon will be watching the headlining fight with keen interest as either man in the ring could be a potential opponent in 2016.
Currently positioned fifth in the WBO World rankings, Langford told Boxing News Online why he’s favouring the speed of the North Londoner over the power of the Irishman:
“As the fight draws closer, I’m more confident Billy Joe Saunders will beat Andy Lee.
“Early on, I made the prediction that BJS would win because he’s faster, punches in numbers, and the only thing that Lee has over Billy Joe is power, but it’s the one, big shot that he needs and it’s harder to land the right hook on a southpaw, especially one as slick and skilful as Saunders.
“Lee has been hurt quite a lot in fights and been wobbled a bit, I know he’s operated at a higher level but were those opponents that much better than Billy Joe’s? I don’t think so.
“BJS has had tough opposition on the British and European scene – Eubank Jr., Blandamura, Ryder, O’Sullivan. All four of those were unbeaten at the time with a combined record of 71-0. Although Lee has fought bigger names in America, I don’t necessarily think they’re that much better.
“I think that if Saunders goes out early and sets a high pace then he could drop or hurt Lee, he’s looking in good shape from his Marbella training camp so hopefully tiring in the later rounds won’t be an issue like it was against Eubank Jnr.
“He’s always going to be the same at middleweight – a little bit big and fleshy. He supposedly lives the life better now, but he’s always going to have that look, and tiring in fights could always be his downfall at some point but not in this fight, he’ll get ahead early and keep the lead nicely.
“He’s tough, he takes a shot and keeps on coming. Once the rounds are in the bag and he’s got a big points lead then he won’t risk anything, then Andy Lee will have to chase him and that will be the recipe for Billy Joe to win.
“I’ve been asked a lot lately, since reaching the top five in the WBO rankings, if I’d like to fight the winner of this fight. Well, if you’re looking at the level of opposition that I’ve had then it’s not up there just yet, and I’m still an unknown commodity so you can’t put me in that league yet but you also can’t say I’m not in that league either.
“I’ve got to have some tougher tests and then I’m ready to mix it with whoever wants it. Whoever offers the fight to me, I’m gonna’ take it as I’m in boxing to be the best, but the reality is to have some harder opposition in front of me and answer the questions that need answering.
“Sparring is a different scenario altogether but I have been in the ring with world champions and done really well against them all. It’s all vital experience and I learnt a lot, and it certainly stands me in good stead. Because of that sparring against Callum Smith, Liam Smith, Chris Eubank Jr., Liam Williams; that’s what makes me confident to take those big fights when they come. But its whether anyone wants to fight me.”