The latest in our weekly fighting talk feature on what’s said and done inside – and outside – the ropes
By Richard Hubbard
A PENNY FOR the thoughts of Tommy Langford when news broke of the incarceration of Avtandil Khurtsidze would’ve been value for money.
Tommy, of course, lost his unbeaten record to the Brooklyn-based Georgian back in April when he rolled the dice against the avoided No.1 ranked Khurtsidze in a challenge for the WBO interim middleweight title.
Tommy’s night was ended in Leicester when he dropped his guard and was caught by a peach of a left hook in round five and Khurtsidze was subsequently booked in to take on Billy Joe Saunders for the full title in July.
The fight didn’t come to fruition. Khurtsidze was arrested on June 7, along with 33 others as part of a federal government swoop on those accused of involvement in a crime ring – illicit activities including racketeering, robbery and murder for hire.
Naturally, with the benefit of hindsight, Tommy wishes the Feds had got to work a bit sooner.
Reports suggest Khurtsidze could face up to 40 years behind bars.
“The first thing that went through my head was ‘what a crazy, crazy man’, but we kind of knew that anyway beforehand, that he was a bit mental by his shenanigans and the way he acted.
“It didn’t really surprise me. I thought he was a mad geezer so I wasn’t totally shocked.
“The final thing that occurred to me was, why me? How can the geezer that beat me get done for that and I’m out of the picture?
“If the FBI had done their work a little bit quicker and caught him a bit faster, then I would’ve been in the mandatory spot, no argument.
“Ultimately, it is what it is and it is a shame in a sense that he didn’t get the world title fight, but he has got himself wrapped up in what he has and that is the risk you run leading that lifestyle.”
A first pro defeat is always a bitter pill to swallow, but Tommy quickly put his culling by Khurtsidze into perspective and identified himself as the architect of his own downfall.
“You know what, immediately you are obviously gutted, but I have never been devastated by a loss. There was no argument over it and I can’t change that, it’s done.
“So you accept the fact that you lost quite quickly. The thing that was annoying and the worst thing about it is that I lost from a mistake off my own success. I was actually really getting into the fight and landed a lot of punches.
“It was my own naive mistake operating at that level. I now understand what is required to be successful at world level.
“I let myself down with my discipline. It is a mistake I have learned massively from and I understand now when people talk about the difference between domestic and world level.
“It is mostly about your mental state, concentration and mental discipline. It has been a steep learning curve and it is a shame I had to take that shot to learn it, but had I not got nailed with it I might never have had that lesson.
“I fully, fully believe I can get back and operate at that level again.”
CARRY ON PUNCHING
Those of us non-punchers who wind up feeling stodgy and groggy after regularly talking ourselves out of a visit to the local gym can take heart. It happens even to the biggest of hitters.
Daniel Dubois‘ schedule since making his debut in April has been pretty relentless and he has featured on three of the four shows since, while continuing to nurture his skill set and condition his huge frame under the orders of Martin Bowers at the Peacock Gym in Canning Town, where the fitness drills can even make observers feel a little queasy.
Enjoying a bit of downtime, Dubois reveals, is not an option while he has youth on his side.
“I have to stay in the gym or I lose fitness so quickly,” insisted the WBC world youth champion, whose next stop is the Copper Box on September 16 for a tilt at the Southern Area title against AJ Carter.
“I’ve taken a good few weeks out of boxing before and when I come back it has been totally different.
“I felt so fatigued so quickly, I couldn’t run and couldn’t do nothing.
“I need to be active while I am still young and ready. I need to stay in the gym.”
Don’t we all…
A STAR IS BORN… REALLY?
Sky Sports co-commentator Darren Barker couldn’t quite restrain himself from spouting the words ‘a star is born’ after witnessing Terence Crawford curtail the world title holding reign of Matchroom fighter Julius Indongo in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Well, sorry to rain on your pom poms Darren, but this star was born some years ago and his comprehensive destruction of Indongo was actually his tenth world title contest, having won the WBO lightweight title in March of 2014 against Ricky Burns in Glasgow.
The 29-year-old doubled his belt tally against Viktor Postol in July of last year and is now a 32-0 undisputed champion. But, of course, the vast majority of his fights weren’t on Sky so they probably don’t count.
With huge fights in the offing, possibly up at welterweight, thankfully Frank Warren confirms Crawford will be returning to his more knowledgeable UK habitat of BoxNation from now on.
The boxing channel where they tell it how it is.
WHO SAID WHAT?
“Will he pull out? Probably. He’ll come up with some c*** and bull story, probably.” English super middleweight champion Darryll Williams doubts that Chris Eubank jr will last the course in the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series
“It would be true to say that I have revised my timescale for attempting to reach the top.” Daniel Dubois suggests he is reconsidering his four-year plan towards becoming a world heavyweight champion
“People look at my record and think I’m just a brawler that loves a tear-up.” Southampton super welterweight banger Joe Pigford insists there is more to his game than being heavy-handed
“Look at what he has done since looking after himself. He’s picked all his own opponents, made fights at the weights that suit him, he’s made a truck load of money and, more importantly – whether you love him or hate him for his antics – his marbles are all in place.” Frank Warren places on record his admiration for the personal career management of Floyd Mayweather jr