Bideford-born Tommy Langford retained his WBO Inter-Continental middleweight belt by defeating former Finnish national champion Timo Laine at the Ice Arena in Cardiff on Saturday night. Langford extended his unbeaten run to 17 professional fights with a seventh round stoppage of Laine, a late replacement for former German national champion Ronny Gabel.Outclassed and outboxedThe Helsinki man was completely outclassed, outworked, outboxed and outfoxed for the entire 19-and-a-half-minutes, despite entering the contest off the back of an outstanding five-fight winning streak, four of those ending inside the distance. From the opening bell, Langford established his range and dominance early, and if there were any fears of the short notice switch having an effect on the unbeaten Devonian, they were soon dispelled. Laine started the fight by waving his left hand out in circular motions and looked to land a few jabs of his own; and actually had some success midway through the round with a double jab, right hook to the body and left to the head of Langford. He moved well as he was hunted down by the WBO titlist but was caught in the corner with a left hook followed by a big right hand in the final minute.One way trafficFrom thereon, Langford had it all his way, swarming the 32-year-old challenger with an incredible variety of punches and setting a high work rate that the Finnish middleweight couldnt match. It was a perfectly polished performance from the titleholder, clearly pleasing the 300 travelling fans from Birmingham and Devon. Referee Phil Edwards kept a watchful eye on the Northern European, who kept glancing towards his corner from round three onwards, and arguably should have stopped the fight earlier. The Baggies Bomber displayed an assured, accurate busy display and pleased spectators with subtle tricks of the trade such as slight sidesteps designed to create enough space to whip in the body shots and clever Sugar Ray Robinson trademark tactics of pulling the opponents gloves down to land shots. With the challenger covering up in survival mode, Langford intelligently used tippy-tappy punches on the gloves of his opponent to entice him into firing back to create further openings. It was extremely clever, mature, superior tactics from the 6ft tall middleweight. Avalanche of punches The relentless punching and non-stop stalking from the champion wore the travelling fighter down and the fatigue was visible in the second half of every single round. A little frustration and perhaps slight bewilderment as to how the challenger was still standing in the sixth round, Langford hurled Laine to the floor just as the bell sounded. Uncharacteristically, the Finn threw six jabs to kick off what was to be his final round, just one of those finding the target. With hands dropped low, seemingly from exhaustion, he was soon backed up onto the ropes where he spent the majority of the fight. Langford unleashed an avalanche of unanswered punches prompting the official to step in and finally stop the one-sided show. It was a double celebration for Langford, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday, as he recorded his fourth stoppage victory in his last six fights and moved up to 17-0. Full credit to the Baltic Boxing Union champion for taking the fight at such late notice but it was certainly a level too high and he wasnt nowhere near ambitious enough to stand any sort of chance against the impressive champion. Badly marked, he was sent back to Finland with multiple bruises, abrasions and two perforated ear drums. Chris Eubank Jr Post-fight, Langford said: He was there to survive and he didnt make it hard for me to find the openings. I did what I had to do in the end. The 160-pounder will not be away from the gym for long as the British Boxing Board of Control have ordered Chris Eubank Jr to defend his British middleweight title against Langford, the purse bids to be agreed by September.Click here to return to our homepage for more North Devon sport.