Boxing: Betham eyes NZ cruiserweight title

Monty Betham is preparing to challenge for the New Zealand cruiserweight title, a fight which he hopes could help him emulate the deeds of his father, Monty snr.

Betham's bout against James Langton at Auckland's SkyCity on November 3 will be the most significant of his professional career.

The former Kiwis and Warriors league player has fought eight times as a professional (winning seven), but mostly with a "celebrity" tag attached.

His biggest previous challenge in the ring was against Shane Cameron in 2011, a fight he lost on points over six rounds.

Betham's fight against Langton will be over 10 rounds and a victory would help him follow in the footsteps of Monty snr, who held the New Zealand middle and light heavyweight crowns, and the Commonwealth middleweight title on two occasions.

He also fought WBC/WBA champion Allan Minter and WBA Super Welterweight Champion Ayub Kalule, both of whom lost their titles to all-time greats Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard respectively.

Monty jnr's last fights were against former England cricketer Adam Hollioake in March and former All Black Carlos Spencer in December.

He won both by knockout, but Langton, nicknamed Batman, will present a more durable challenge despite his age of 42.

"I haven't stopped training since my last couple of fights and I've just got better and better," Betham (37) said.

"I've fallen in love with the sport more than ever.

"Although my professional career path has been different to Dad's, he instilled the drive and ambition in me to achieve.

"As a kid I dreamed of winning a title like Dad and 30 years later I get a chance to do just that."

Monty snr said: "Having my son go into the ring makes me happy and proud.

"He's a capable sportsman that has the right attitude and mindset.

" I'm confident in his abilities and know that he can do what he sets his mind to."

Langton, a former Taranaki club rugby player who turned to professional boxing two years ago, has a nine-win, two-loss record, and will be a hard-hitting and durable opponent.

"I'm a real test for Monty, he's picked on a guy who's won nine in a row with five KO's and has been fighting regularly," Langton said.

"Monty's a top-class athlete with some great skills, but he's only fought twice in two years.

"He hasn't been 10 rounds, which is an experience he's going to need, because the title is going to go to the guy who can go to dark places, battle through pain to take a win - and that will be me."

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