New British middleweight champion Tommy Langford admits he was glad to see the back of Chris Eubank Jr in the build-up to the title fight that never was.
He had been due to compete for Eubank’s Lonsdale belt until the latter pulled out, relinquishing his title and leaving Langford with a battle to find suitable competition for the bout.
All was well that ended well for Langford, however, as he dispatched of Sam Sheedy, Eubank’s replacement, to claim the British crown for the first time.
Despite the sweetness of victory, dealing with the Eubanks – both Jr and his father Chris Sr – left a bad taste in the mouth for the 27 year-old.
“To be honest with you, I’m glad to be rid of them,” said the ‘Baggies Bomber’.
“They were really hard to deal with, they wouldn’t turn up to press conferences and didn’t conduct themselves right in my eyes in the build-up to the fight.
“So I just think I’m better off rid of them and I think that British boxing and the British public is better off not having anything to do with them.”
The Eubanks cited an elbow injury sustained in sparring as one reason for Chris Jr pulling out of the fight, however they went on to spark controversy by claiming the ‘vast chasm’ in quality between himself and other fighters would put contenders at risk of serious injury.
Many, due to the life-threatening injuries sustained by Nick Blackwell at the hands of Eubank Jr as the pair contested the British title in March, deemed this insensitive.
Blackwell has since had to retire from the sport after spending time in a coma, however Langford feels that the Eubank camp’s comments bear no relevance to his own ability to compete.
“Well, I think they’re just absolutely deluded, really,” he said.
“They know how the sparring went when I went down and sparred him, and they know I’m a very good fighter. They knew I was someone they needed to avoid.
“I’m not saying they were worried about fighting me, I know they’re hugely arrogant and believe they’ll beat everybody and every fighter needs to be confident and have a certain level of arrogance. So I’m not saying they were scared of fighting me.
“But what I do think is that I was a massive banana skin to them for their earning potential of fighting bigger fights.
“I could ruin the Eubank gravy train, if you know what I mean. I know that’s why they didn’t want the fight.
When I was signed to [promoter] Frank Warren, they said they’d fight anybody, but they didn’t want to fight me. There was a list of fighters they didn’t want to fight and I was top.
“So I know the ins and outs of it all and I know that’s the case and I just think they’re absolutely stupid.
“Eubank Sr’s comments about his son being so far above and beyond the British domestic scene is just laughable really, because now his son’s ended up moving up to super-middleweight and fighting for an IBO title against someone who has won 11 and lost 1.
“I was 17-0 when they were talking about fighting me and I’m still undefeated. And it was for a prestigious title. I’m number two in the WBO rankings so by rights that fight would have made one of us mandatory for the WBO world title.”
So after the saga of a potential fight with Eubank Jr this time around, has Langford washed his hands of his middleweight counterpart once and for all?
For the Birmingham-based British champion, big-name fights mean nothing without titles on the line.
“Names don’t matter – if you stack up the titles and stack up the wins then you’re the man”
“You never say ‘never’,” he admitted. “Ultimately, if he’s still about and he’s still doing the things he’s doing and there’s big money on the line, you don’t turn down big paydays, although they seem to have done that.
“But until that happens, no I’m not interested in them. I’m not lowering myself to fight him, I’m going after bigger and better things and I won’t bother with him.
“Ultimately now, what’s he got?” asked Devon-born Langford.
“He’s not got the British title, he’s not got the Commonwealth title, and he’s not got a European or world title.
“So he’s title-less and he’s forfeited his right to call himself a champion. I’ve got the Commonwealth, the British, number 2 in the WBO and I’m looking at European and World title shots.
“Names don’t matter – if you stack up the titles and stack up the wins then you’re the man.”