David Price Interview

By Steve Bateson on August 5, 2014
David Price is ready to rise again in 2015

David Price (18-2 with 15 KO’s) was seemingly on his way to the top of the Heavyweight kingdom when he suffered the first of two de-railing defeats to Tony Thompson (2nd round KO in Feb 2013 and 6th round TKO in July 2013). Those setbacks caused Price to re-evaluate his career and after a parting of the ways with then promoter Frank Maloney he chose to sign with German brothers Kalle and Nisse Sauerland. Price has since racked up three successive wins in Germany and has his sights set on bigger things in 2015 and beyond. Boxing.com was able to talk to David about his career so far and his targets for the future.

Boxing: I know you are currently out of action with a hand injury but there is talk of a fight for you in December. That would make four fights this year, is that the amount of outings you were hoping for in 2014?

Price: I think four fights in one year is enough although I would have probably liked to get five in but considering I have lost nearly five months through injury I can’t complain. Four fights and four wins is a good return.

Boxing: After the two defeats to Tony Thompson you made the decision to sign for Sauerland. Do you feel that has benefitted you? What is different fighting out of Germany?

Price: It has definitely benefitted me signing with Sauerland. They are very professional, very fair people. They can get me to where I want to be, which is the Heavyweight Championship. Fighting in Germany has been beneficial, taken the pressure and the limelight away from the big fights in Liverpool. It has been less high profile situations and now that the three fights are out of the way, I am ready for the big boys and the big arenas back in the UK. That is why I am in the sport, for the big fights.

Boxing: UK fight fans would love to know if you will be boxing on these shores again anytime soon? George Groves is of course fighting in London later this year, would you like to headline a bill in Liverpool once again?

Price: I am definitely ready to get back in the ring in Liverpool and bring big Heavyweight boxing back to the city. There was a real buzz in the city whenever I was fighting there and I hope the fans are looking forward to me returning. It will be the new David Price making his comeback and the second part of the journey to the top.

Boxing: Prior to the first Tony Thompson fight you were 15-0 with 13 KO’s but you had never gone beyond the 7th round. Looking back now do you feel that fight came too early for you? Should you have possibly had a smaller step up in competition? After all Tony Thompson had only just lost to Wladimir Klitschko.

Price: In hindsight I could have picked a different opponent, he is an avoided fighter, but I will always maintain that the first fight with Thompson was there for the taking. I don’t think he was in the best condition, I think the fight was there to be won, but I just got caught in the 2nd round and I was badly unlucky. There was no other explanation for it. Why would you want to fight an awkward 6’6 southpaw who’s experienced and knows his way around the ring? But at that time we believed whoever was put in front of me, I would take them out because of the momentum I had gained from destroying everyone I had fought up to that point.

Boxing: What have you learned from those two defeats? You have one of the best jabs in the business and your right hand is an intimidating weapon but do you feel that perhaps you became over reliant on your ability to bomb opponents out?

Price: I have learned a hell of a lot. Where do you start? I have learned that much from them. A lot of it was to do with how you mentally prepare for fights and that is something I have changed, especially since the second defeat. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I was exhausted after four rounds, which shouldn’t happen, but that will never happen again because I know how to control things in the build-up now. Patience is another thing, not trying to get in there and get people out early doors, take my time and use my jab to break opponents down. If you didn’t learn after two setbacks like that then you would have to ask questions.
Boxing: What is the goal for 2015 and beyond? Are you interested in boxing for the British title again or will you be looking to step up into European/World Class as soon as possible? How long do you think it will be before you can get back into the mix?

Price: My goal for 2015 is a big domestic fight, that is the initial goal and a win there would propel me into the world title mix. I am confident I can get in there and take one of them out so I can jump back in with world level fighters. I am ranked #8 now with the WBO so we are making the right strides forward and we want to get up the rankings with every governing body.

Boxing: The current British Heavyweight scene plays host to a number of men who believe they have what it takes to be a world champion. Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora, Anthony Joshua,David Haye (if the rumours of a return are true)and yourself. Besides yourself who do you believe has the best chance of being a champion?

Price: That is a difficult question. Everyone believes they have what it takes to be the world champion. With the politics in the sport you never know who might get the chance to do it first. They are all right, alongside myself, to believe that they could be champion. I think Anthony Joshua, as an Olympic Champion, history tells you that he is likely going to go on and win a world title. It isn’t guaranteed but it is likely. But it is a long way away; he’s only had seven fights so he is a relative novice. David Haye has been there and done it so you would say (if he returns) he would have the best chance.

Boxing: Would you be open to fighting those four men? Obviously there was a lot of back and forth between you and Tyson Fury, is that a fight that you would still want to take place?

Price: I am definitely interested in those fights, they are big fights. As long as they open doors to bigger opportunities, those are the fights I want to be involved in. Tyson Fury is still a fight I really want and I am hopeful in the next eighteen months that that is a fight that can take place. Big domestic fights make good business and that is down to the fans in this country, who are willing to go out and spend hard earned money on a fight they want to see. Because of the history between me and Tyson I think there would still be a lot of interest in that fight especially when I have proven that I can operate against world class opponents, which I am planning to do in the next couple of fights.

Boxing: There are other fighters at this weight who are making waves. Deontay Wilder, WBC Champion Bermane Stiverne, Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev to name a few. Who do you believe (besides yourself) is best equipped to reign at the top of the division once the Klitschko era is over?

Price: They are all good fighters, in their own ways. Pulev is someone I know more because I have done a lot of sparring with him and he is a good, good fighter. He has as good a chance of beating Wladimir Klitschko as anyone in the last ten years. He is tough, fit, he has a good chin, he isn’t a massive puncher but he hits hard enough to get your respect. Deontay Wilder is an absolute ferocious puncher, who could knock any man out, but we don’t know what is going to happen if someone can take his power. Bryant Jennings is an impressive, athletic, fighter who is probably the best out of the Americans, to me. Stiverne has had two great wins over Arreola and won the title, he is a good fighter with impressive speed. It is going to be interesting to see what happens, domestically and abroad, but I think it will take some time to see any dominance come to fruition, I think we will see the belts change hands a couple of times in the next few years.

Boxing: If you could pick any opponent to face from any era, who would it be and why?

Price: Mike Tyson. An absolute icon of the sport, has a massive crossover appeal, and someone who excites the fans. It would be a big ask for me to beat him (laughs) but to say I shared the ring with someone like that would be great. As long as I didn’t get carried out on a stretcher.

Boxing: Who is your most difficult opponent to this date? I know Tony Thompson is probably top of the list but what is it that made him such a tough foe?

Price: Yeah Tony Thompson was tough. He was skilful, you could see he was battle-hardened, his constitution is strong. He comes from a tough background, he’s had to work hard to get where he has got and apart from Wladimir Klitschko he hasn’t really lost many fights (in a clear fashion). His experience was definitely a factor.

Also my last opponent from the Ukraine (Yaroslav Zavrotnyi ) was tough, in a different way, because he managed to go ten rounds with me, although a lot of that was down to the injury I was carrying at the time.

Boxing: You did some work with Lennox Lewis in the build-up to the second fight with Thompson, how much did you learn from working with a guy like Lennox? As someone who has come back from adversity and proven he could still be a world champion, do you look at what he did and gain self-belief from that?

Price: I learned a lot from working with Lennox Lewis. But it comes down to the individual and maybe some of the things I was doing with Lennox Lewis weren’t right for the way I fight, or the type of body shape I have. It might have been better going in to work with Lennox on the back of a win rather than a defeat because I wasn’t in the best mental shape to have a world champion showing me what to do. I felt I maybe had to live up to a legend and that was a difficult. But the overall experience was fantastic because he is the greatest Heavyweight of all time, in my opinion, so to spend so much time with him and get to pick his brains was great, he showed me so much. But we probably didn’t have enough time to put it all into practise.

Boxing: Liverpool is currently in the middle of a boom period for boxing. The crowds seem to really be into every event at the moment and there is plenty of fighters from your home city who have the potential to go very far. The Smith Brothers, Tony Bellew, Rocky Fielding and yourself on one card would be an event not to be missed. Does it feel good knowing you are a part of a huge scene at the moment? If you could pick one of your fellow city-men to win a world title, who do you think will step up first?

Price: Liverpool has always had this fighting image, it is a fighting, working class city. We’ve been through a lot of hardship over the last forty or so years on a social level. It has always produced hard people, not just boxers. I think what you are seeing now is a product of the fantastic amateur system we have benefitted from. We had the best of everything on a plate. The best coaches, the best facilities, some of us where even given jobs where we were allowed time off so that we could train full-time and still get paid. That doesn’t mean the professional trainers etc haven’t had their input but we had a great base to start from. It makes me proud to know my fellow fighters, to see what we have achieved, let alone be friends with them and to have shared great experiences together.

Who will get their (world championship) first? Well I think it comes down to who gets the opportunity first and that is Paul Smith (fights Arthur Abraham for the WBO Super-Middleweight belt on September 27th). He has a big opportunity bring a belt back for the city and I wish him good luck.

Stephen Smith is also lined up for a world title shot. I think there will be a lot of fighters, including myself, who will get the opportunity in the future.

(Interview ends)

David Price still has all the tools and plenty of time on his side to make another assault on the Heavyweight division. A win in December followed by big domestic victories in 2015 could see him in contention for a major belt by the tail-end of next year. One of the true gentlemen of the sport, we wish him luck in the future.

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