The Contenders: Langford, Speight & Day – January Exclusive
Picture of Tommy Langford (c) Queensberry Promotions; In-text Picture of Jamie Speight (c)Sport South Devon/Matt Green; Picture of Ben Day supplied by Ben Day.
There are three championship boxers from Devon, all flying the flag for the home county – Bideford’s Tommy Langford, Kingsteington’s Jamie Speight and Teignmouth’s Ben Day.
All three Devonians have moved away from home to further their boxing careers and each one has achieved title glory by doing so and plan to challenge for more belts this year.
The Contenders will keep you updated with a monthly column exclusive to Sport South Devon on their respective journeys to the top of the world.
Bideford’s Tommy Langford:
“Although I have been resting during December after becoming the British middleweight champion, it’s still managed to be quite an eventful month to report back on.
At the start of the month, my mum was named Teacher of the Year in North Devon, which is nice for her to be recognised after 25 years of teaching.
I went back to Bideford boxing club to show everyone my new belt and the local BBC South West came along and did a piece, which went out live on TV.
The following night, I went away to Wales with the Bideford boxing team and had a good night out watching the boxing. Young Lewis Cornish boxed very well to win his fight and Callum Cunningham was phenomenal to beat the Welsh champ, handily.
I was then interviewed live on BT Sport by presenter Jake Humphrey on December 17th whilst standing next to footballing legends Steven Gerrard and Glen Hoddle.
I was the Fans’ Champion for the West Brom v Man United game at the Hawthorns, where my dad, brother, uncle, cousins and I all have a season ticket, and it was a real honour for me to bring the match ball out and place it on the Premier League plinth for the start of the game.
“I would like to wish all of the readers a Happy New Year and say a big thank you to Sport South Devon for their support throughout 2016″ – Tommy Langford
“I’ve been training lightly as I had a cut on my head that needed time to heal, even training on Christmas Day, which is a sort of tradition now. It meant taking it a bit easy so as not to get infected and strictly no sparring for six weeks.
It’s also allowed me time to take stock and reflect on 2016. Obviously, becoming Commonwealth and British champ to add to the WBO Inter-Continental title, all within the space of 12 months, is great, but to become a dad this year as well has put a bigger shine on everything.
It’s even more important for me when I look forward to 2017. If I have a year better than this one, it can only mean adding more titles to the collection and that means European and World honours.
This year, the UK have ended with 13 current World champions, somehow managing to top last year, and I would love to add my name to that list next year.
I’m expecting to receive news of my next fight date in January any day now.
I would like to wish all of the readers a Happy New Year and say a big thank you to Sport South Devon for their support throughout 2016.”
Kingsteington’s Jamie Speight:
“December hasn’t been a great month for me – I lost my fight to Josh Kennedy on the first weekend of the month at London’s York Hall.
It was a TKO halfway through the third round to unbeaten Kennedy who takes my Southern Area title that I previously held for two-and-a-half years.
The fight was going well, the game plan was going exactly how we wanted it to, we were moving on our feet, keeping busy, flicking the jab out, trying to frustrate. Then I got caught with a good shot in the third round; I didn’t see it coming, it was a momentarily lapse of concentration.
The punch was high on the temple but I got up and was on steady legs; then Josh came in with a barrage of punches so I tucked up during the onslaught and intelligently defended myself but the referee assumed I was under too much pressure and stopped the fight.
Full credit to Josh; he stepped up and done well and I’d fight him again tomorrow so I’m up for the rematch if he wants it.
“The fight was going well…Then I got caught with a good shot in the third round; I didn’t see it coming, it was a momentarily lapse of concentration” – Jamie Speight
“The year, in general, has had very few ups and few more downs but my highlight would be seeing my old mate and four-time rival from the amateurs, Tommy Langford, lift the prestigious British title in November. I’ve known Tommy for many years and fought and trained together on the amateur circuit and I’m made up for him!
I was delighted to have met Olympic silver medalist Joseph Joyce last week at the Champs Gym. He, Jack Green and I spent ages talking about nothing but boxing!
I’m looking forward to 2017 for new challenges, it’s going to be a big year for me.”
Teignmouth’s Ben Day:
“December wasn’t great for me, as I was stopped in the second round of my Southern Area lightweight championship fight against Luton’s Michael Devine.
I don’t want to take anything away from him because he hit me with a good shot but I was fine to continue. I never ever thought I’d be put on my arse but I got up quickly and felt fine. The referee asked me to step towards him so I did, yet he waived the fight off.
There was not a mark on me and the decision was an absolute joke for a Southern Area title fight, however, I was very quick to congratulate Michael Devine on becoming a two-weight Southern Area champion.
Mentally, before my fight, I was a mess. I attended two funerals in November and travelled up and down the country visiting my friend in hospital. I’m not making excuses but it wasn’t an ideal training camp.
I’m going away for my next camp to train like a true pro, even if it’s just for three or four weeks, because running a business whilst trying to prepare for a championship contest is no good at this level. To be honest, I probably shouldn’t have fought at all, but I’ll learn from it.
I’ll be dropping down to featherweight because I weighed in with all my clothes on with two mobile phones in my pocket! I walk around at the 126lbs weight limit, even when I’m not in training, which I attribute to my Vegan lifestyle – I am ‘The Vegan Boxer!’
“There was not a mark on me and the decision was an absolute joke for a Southern Area title fight, however, I was very quick to congratulate Michael Devine on becoming a two-weight Southern Area champion.” – Ben Day
“People have reported back to me saying that I wasn’t myself in that last fight but it would have taken me just a couple of rounds to adapt and to start confusing him, but it was all over too quick.
I still don’t count my last two results as losses as I should not have been stopped against Devine and in the first loss, the decision wasn’t the right one.
I want to fight more in 2017 because I’m 38 now so I’m eyeing March for my next fight.
I’ve been away to New York over the Christmas period and had an amazing time with my girlfriend Nerice Brosnan, visiting her lovely family.
I trained in the world famous Gleason’s Gym to see an old friend (and owner) – Bruce Silverglade. Jake LaMotta, Roberto Durán, Mike Tyson and even Muhammad Ali have all trained within the hallowed walls there.
I’m itching to get back in the ring and I’m already in the gym training, ready for the next challenge!”
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