Vacant Commonwealth and WBO International super-middleweight contest
Former British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Tommy Langford (21-4, 6KOs) was defeated by unbeaten Lerrone Richards (12-0, 3KOs) by unanimous decision to win the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International super-middleweight titles on April 27 at The SSE Arena in Wembley.
‘Sniper the Boss’ had only fought three fighters with winning records during his five-year pro career, with his last fight back in March 2018, but his inactivity wasn’t evident in his dominant performance over the experienced former British and Commonwealth middleweight titlist, who had fought 30 rounds within the last year.
The first round between the two technically-gifted tacticians was a tepid affair as both worked intelligently behind their jabs.
The fight opened up a bit further in the second and third rounds as the pair exchanged a lot more. Richards caught Langford with a check right hook but only seemed to slightly off balance the warrior.
The fourth round was much the same, with both trying to find an edge over the other but not being able to gain one, however Richards finished strongly with a combination that connected cleanly on Langford.
26-year-old Richards displayed the type of prowess in the first third of the fight that he more than belonged at this level and was looking more and more comfortable.
The middle rounds started to show Richards’ strength and conditioning as he was opening up and landing combinations increasingly with the more experienced Langford not being able to penetrate his guard with anything really meaningful.
In the ninth stanza, a solid left from Richards landed on Langford, who immediately came forward and forced the Londoner back, eager to exact his revenge.
The fight was living up to its expectation as a very tight, tense, intriguing spectacle with either fighter still being able to take the fight with a strong finish.
‘Sniper the Boss’ started to show his composure in the championship rounds, despite his lack of experience there, and scored some vicious uppercuts that kept Langford firmly on the back foot.
Another strong left landed in the 10th round that caught the Birmingham-based boxer flush and triggered a sustained attack from Richards that saw a dozen unanswered punches hit home as Langford covered up, but still he marched forward undeterred, knowing he was trailing on the cards.
Langford kept the pressure on but wasn’t able to land anything clean to the head, having more success with rights to the body instead. However, it was the strongest round of the night for Richards, who landed close to half a dozen power punches even finishing with another strong left hand on the bell.
In the penultimate and final rounds, Langford showed a big heart to keep going, applying pressure at every moment, persistently going forward but Richards finished what he started really well to keep connecting all the way through to the final bell.
Langford said post-fight, “It was a very frustrating night at the office for me. I lost the decision without ever really being in a fight, if that makes sense!
“Full credit to Lerrone Richards, he is the king of negativity and very good at what he does and made it incredibly difficult for me to land clean all night. He’s very clever and made it work for him.
“I was always trying to press and make the fight, but he rigidly stuck to his game plan and made it work for him throughout the entire 12-rounds.
“It was an extremely frustrating fight to be in, but I’ll dust myself off and see what’s next.”