British heavyweight David Price still believes he can become World Heavyweight Champion as he attempts to revive his career tonight. Price faces Kamil Sokolowski in Brentwood, a full ten months after a devastating stoppage loss to Christian Hammer caused most to advise retirement. Now 34, Price has been quietly working away in Liverpool to try and get himself back in contention.
Price turned pro in 2009 on the back of an Olympic bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics. Fifteen straight wins, including knockout victories over the likes of former Olympic champion Audley Harrison and former British champion Matt Skelton, saw him named ESPN prospect of the year in 2012.
Price’s world came crashing down at the beginning of 2013 when he lost his unbeaten record to canny former world title challenger Tony Thompson. Having lost via a one punch tko in a fight he’d been winning, Price tried to immediately rectify the defeat just five months later. The fight followed the same pattern with Price starting well but quickly fading with stamina issues and again being stopped.
Undeterred Price signed a promotional deal with German promoter Sauerland and rebuilt his career in Germany. Price showed his trademark power with three knockouts in four wins, with the victories coming over decent fringe contenders.
Sadly for Price, a fight with Erkan Teper for the European title derailed his career once again, when he was knocked out cold in the second round. Price’s frustrations were compounded when Teper later tested positive for steroids and the result was changed to a no contest.
Price bulked up and came back slower and heavier but in his opinion studier and two more wins followed. It was a match with Romanian contender Christian Hammer for the WBO European title that appeared to hammer the final nail into the coffin of his career. Price suffered another heavy knockout defeat in the seventh round and was forced to take significant time out to reflect.
Price is pragmatic and realistic and having decided to come back has not set his goals too high—”I want to make good decent steps to get back into big fights as soon as possible. Get this one out of the way and then hopefully get a 10-rounder in February time, something like that.”
Price is very honest and open about the fact that every time he has stepped up to near world class level he has been defeated. He has set his current goal merely to recapture the British title he once won so brilliantly from Sam Sexton.
Yet it is clear he does still harbour world title ambitions. Price once defeated former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury in the amateurs and it is fairly apparent that he is eyeing those sorts of names down the line if his comeback is successful.
“I would love to be able to say I have at least fought for a world title.”
Price is a tremendous talent with world class power (he once knocked out a younger Anthony Joshua in sparring) but if he is to achieve his real goals he will have to make significant improvements to his defensive technique.
It remains to be seen if he can finally fulfil his potential. He is well and truly in the last chance saloon and one more set back will likely end his career for good. Yet it is a tribute to his considerable talent that despite his past defeats and the brutal nature of them only a fool would write him off completely.