Press Release: Tommy Langford (18-0) will face Avtandil Khurtsidze (32-2-2) at the Leicester Arena on Saturday with the WBO interim middleweight belt at stake. The winner gets in line for a shot at current WBO title holder Billy Joe Saunders. Langford, the British champion, turned down a defense against Craig Cunningham for this interim title shot, which will likely cost him his domestic title.
“This is a bigger fight and you don’t know how long you are in the game for,” reasoned Langford, who originally hails from North Devon.
“It is a huge opportunity for me to legitimately put myself up there with the elite of the division, which is where you want to be.
“You want to be on the world scene and you want to be fighting those names. The fight got offered, Frank (Warren) did his job for me and has got me a bigger fight and, for me, it was a no-brainer. It is a WBO interim title that will put me in prime position to meet the champion. It is a great chance and one I am really looking forward to. The Cunningham fight, great, domestic fight, midlands fight and everything, but you have got to take your chances, so no regrets at all.”
Langford continued, “don’t get me wrong, I did want the British title and obviously the Commonwealth, so the way I’ve done it is obviously the right way. Working my way up. But, I’ve always said from day one after the British title – and even before – that if opportunities come up I am not going to hang around and defend it for the sake of owning it outright.
“A lot of British fighters who concentrate on owning that belt waste a lot of time and lose opportunities as well. So I’ve always had that mindset – as well as the self-belief over where I can go – and I know what I am capable of. That is where I want to be, I wouldn’t say it is brave, it is just the best thing to do for me.”
As for the Battle of Brum with Cunningham, Langford sees no reason why it cannot be fought on another day but, to his mind, they will have to be trading blows with a world title at stake because he has no plans on treading any backward steps. “Of course it can,” he insisted. “Don’t get me wrong though, I see myself winning this fight and I want to stay at world level, so Cunningham then has to get himself to that level. I’m not going to drop back down. Should the worst happen and I am not successful, I still won’t want to come back down and want to stay at that level. This is my chance to prove myself, to prove that I belong with the top in the world. I will show that on the night and I am not going anywhere – I am staying there.”