Tommy Langford (18-1) was beaten by WBO No.1 Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2) via a fifth-round stoppage as the Georgian set up a bout against WBO World middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.
The fight was for the WBO World middleweight interim title, with the winner becoming Saunders’ mandatory challenger.
Langford previously stated his desire to face stablemate Saunders, but the dream was shattered when he was floored with a fierce left-hook by the 37-year-old at Leicester Arena, in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Bideford-born Langford was stunned by the Brooklyn-based Khurtsidze in the opening round, who is known as a ‘Mini Mike Tyson’ with 22 KO’s on his ledger.
In the following three rounds, Langford learnt to shift his feet and mkeep away from the wild swings and managed to out-box his counterpart, who visibly slowed down and showed signs of tiring.
Then, just moments into the fifth segment, Langford threw a one-two combination and got caught with a blurring left hook on his chin whilst his right hand was down.
Promoter Frank Warren immediately confirmed that Saunders would fight Khurtsidze on July 8th, with the bout likely to take place in London.
Langford, 27, was undefeated in 18 contests and bagged the British belt in his last bout against Sheffield’s Sam Sheedy. Prior to that, he also captured the Commonwealth title against Lewis Taylor, and won and subsequently defended the WBO International strap on four occasions, earning him the lofty No.2 position in the WBO rankings.
Known as the Baggies Bomber to his hoard of West Brom FC fans, he sent out a message on social media, post-fight, stating, “To all my fans, I really appreciate your unbelievable support. I took my chance at the top, I think I was good enough, but I made a careless mistake and I got caught and I will return to the top, I will be back.
“I’m sorry, but stick with me and we move onto the next one.”
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Tommy Langford would like to thank his sponsors TX ODDS, Bartercard UK, UK Display Stands, JS Wright & Co Ltd, Denco Thermal, All Car Leasing, MAN Commercial Protection, Strategy Plus Web Design, Atlas Pain Relief, Pro Gains, Ringside UK and Agent Tim Rickson