Khurtsidze knocks out Langford to set up Billy Joe Saunders world title bout

23/04/2017 07:30

Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) knocked out previously unbeaten Tommy Langford (18-1, 6 KOs) in the fifth round on Saturday night at the Leicester Arena.

Khurtsidze captured the vacant WBO interim middleweight belt and will now challenge world titleholder Billy Joe Saunders next.

After Khurtsidze landed some hard blows in the opening round, Langford utilised his height and reach advantage by scoring with jabs from distance in the second.

Langford was doing a good job of avoiding the Georgian's shots in the following rounds by moving and holding while throwing fast combinations.

Then, in the fifth, Langford left himself open when he threw a one-two and Khurtsidze dropped him with a crushing left hook to the head.

The British fighter got back to his feet, but the referee decided he was too hurt to continue and halted the fight at 0:27 of the round.

Khurtsidze is scheduled to fight WBO champion Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) on July 8 at a venue to be determined.

Also on the card, former IBF super flyweight champion Zolani Tete (25-3, 20 KOs) defeated Filipino fighter Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16 KOs) by a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision.

Tete dominated the action throughout with his superior speed and counterpunching.

The South African dropped Villanueva in the 11th round before winning by scores of 119-108 twice and 120-107.

The fight, originally scheduled to be an eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for the WBO bantamweight title, was elevated to an interim title fight after Marlon Tapales was stripped of the belt after failing to make weight prior to his defence against Shohei Omori in Japan.