By Terence Dooley
Echo Arena, Liverpool – Tommy Langford (159¼lbs) and Lewis Taylor (159lbs) engaged in a bitty war of attrition for the vacant middleweight Commonwealth title most recently held by Billy Joe Saunders and Langford’s WBO Inter-Continental belt.
Neither man gained dominion over the other early on, so it became a tit for tat affair with Langford looking to land combinations and Taylor enjoying some single shot success as the stanzas sped by.
Langford’s career really picked up momentum in 2015; the Birmingham-based boxer beat Julio Cesar Avalos (W TKO 4), Cristian Fabian Rios (W 10) and Robert Swierzbinski (W TKO 5), winning and twice retaining the WBO Inter-Continental belt during that hat-trick of wins.
Tayor, though, was on a two-win streak since losing to Eamonn O’Kane in May of last year—a majority decision reverse over 12 for the IBF Inter-Continental title—so he came in buoyed by victories over Grant Cunningham and Jez Wilson (W TD 5 and TKO 5 respectively).
Despite picking up a cut over the left eye in the ninth, Langford marched forward through the slowly trickling blood to blast home a series of body shots.
Cutsman Kerry Kayes stemmed the flow between rounds, but Taylor was unable to consistently repeal the bludgeoning attacks of his determined co-challenger. Still, he threaded home enough single shots to keep Langford honest as the fight entered the crucial championship rounds.
The bell went for the 11th round heralded Langford into new entirely territory—the win over Rios was the sole occasion that he has entered the 10th round of a fight. Taylor has done 12 once; he pushed on early in the penultimate round only for Langford to gain a foothold going in the final minute.
Marcus McDonnell applauded both boxers as they went into the last round. Neither man had enough pep to produce a late rally or knockdown, they held more often than in the earlier rounds as the seconds slipped away.
Scores of 118-110 (Terry O’Connor), 118-111 (Steve Gray) and 118-111 (Dave Parris) added the Commonwealth belt to Langford’s trophy cabinet. Langford progresses to 16-0 (5); Taylor drops to 18-2-1 (3).
“I won it convincingly,” Langford said. “I could have boxed better behind my jab, used my feet better or got out of the way, instead I was pulling out and getting caught. Credit to Taylor, better than I expected and he can come again.”
“It was a good fight, he should learn a lot from it,” added Warren. “He’ll watch it, see his mistakes and there’s a couple of things to work on. Big Heart, great for the fans and he’ll learn from that and hopefully by the end of the year be fighting for a world title.”
The Inter-Continental belt has lifted Langford up the WBO’s ratings, he sits at four and Warren also promotes Billy Joe Saunders so it could be a viable option for all involved if Langford adds another few wins to his W column.
Earlier in the night, Warren revealed that he believes a showdown with consensus number one, but not the linear holder, Gennady Golovkin is a stadium fight so should be placed on the back burner until 2017. However, he also revealed that Saunders himself is chomping at the bit for the chance to meet “GGG”.
In the meantime, though, Saunders faces WBO #11 Max Bursak at London’s Copper Box Arena on April 30 in the maiden defence of the belt he won by out-pointing Andy Lee in December.