An Interview With Unbeaten Lightweight Prospect Alfie Price
By Oliver McManus
Unbeaten lightweight prospect Alfie Price will look continue his career in explosive fashion when he kicks off his 2019 this Saturday (April 27th) at Wembley Arena. Contracted to Frank Warren and managed by Mo Prior, the 25-year-old built to 4-0 in 2018 – all of his fights on Prior-promoted shows – with shutout victories all along the way.
I caught up with Alfie at the weekend and he began by reminding me how he got started in the sport,
“It’s a bit of a family thing, to be honest with you, my two older brothers were international amateur boxers and I was always watching them. My brother Danny won three national titles and boxed for England, my other brother Alan as well. They’re about 18 years older than me and I just think it was always bound to happen.
It’s like a rivalry thing, isn’t it, as soon as I won my fourth national title I was able to go ‘ahh, I’ve outdone you’. From a young age I’ve always been motivated to go all the way and when I started beating standout amateurs, that’s when people took notice. As my dad says, “it’s all about a ladder” and I’ve just got to keep climbing it.”
Seven national titles and over 100 bouts as an amateur, including wins over Josh Kelly, Chris Kongo and Sam Maxwell, served as firm footing for him to turn professional. He explained to me that the confidence taken from those victories ensures he’s already got a mental advantage in the paid ranks.
“I’ve always been confident, you’ve got to be if you want to succeed. I look back on what I did as an amateur and not many people can say they’ve won seven national titles, everything I’ve learned from those fights make it that little bit easier now. Of course the sport is two people punching each other but it’s a mental sport, you’ve got to be mentally strong.”
Initially scheduled to debut last February, bad weather across the country put him on hold for five weeks. Two four round contests were followed by two six rounders, all against noticeably durable opponents, and the Hoddesdon-fighter reflected ponderously on the year just gone.
“It was a good year, in the bigger picture, I won every round of my fights and I was boxing well. I did want a decent test, if I’m honest, and to step up to eight rounds but the issue came in trying to find someone who wants to go eight rounds with me. I had lots of people pull out so I’ve gone down to lightweight for this year to try to get me in the title mix quicker.
I was talking to Ricky Burns, who’s roughly the same height and build as me, and he comes down from about 70 kilos and I only walk around at 65. My team were thinking about it last year so we tested it out, spent four weeks replicating it, and it was so easy for me. We’re going to stick at lightweight for now, try to get those opportunities and we’ll see where we go from there.”
That move down in weight coincides with the aspect of professional boxing that Alfie told me surprised him the most – how well he was holding his strength.
“I know a few people who have turned pro and been fighting a division above their strength but who can’t drop the weight – if that makes sense. I’ve handled it quite well, I feel, and moving down in weight is just going to make me a big, big fighter. We’re fighting men, here, and I’ve settled into my strength as an amateur so my body hasn’t forced me into any unnecessary changes. Not only that but I’ve learned to hold my feet, sit on my shots and how to use that strength advantage.”
In previous conversations with Alfie he had told me of his desire to get a knockout victory on his record. That was the one thing that evaded him throughout 2018 but he wasn’t disheartened by that, such is the nature of fighting durable journeymen. Fighters, he told me, had “come to survive.”
His next opponent, Michael Isaac Carrero, has been highlighted as a distinct opportunity to secure that elusive KO.
“Let’s put that right, Ollie. As soon as Frank (Warren) see’s me on that show I don’t think it’ll be long until he puts me on another big card. I will bring class, let them see what I’m about and they can put me in with absolutely anyone they want. I will fight anyone lightweight in Britain, I’ve sparred Ricky Burns, Ohara Davies, Jorge Linares, I know how good I can be. I want to be fighting as often as possible, at least four times this year, and I want a title around my waist. I don’t care what title it is, Southern Area, English, whatever belt it is. It’s nothing personal against these guys, Jeff Ofori or anyone like that, but I want what they’ve got.”
Self-confessed as a “boxing junkie”, the 25-year-old is certain he’ll always be around the sport with plans to open up his own gym when retirement eventually beckons. A dream he’s been envisaging for the last eight years and one he stated with pure simplicity. The immediate focus, predictably, lies on this Saturday. His menacing intentions of a showreel knockout were tempered by a desire to provide value for money.
“I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to knock this guy out, to be honest. I don’t want to do it too quickly because obviously people have paid their hard-earned money to come and watch me so I want them to get something out of it. I didn’t really want to drop back to four rounds, really, I was looking just get one more six rounder and then crack on towards eight and ten. I’m taking the opportunity of it being on a Warren show, I want that knockout and then he’s got no excuse not to get me back on one of his big cards.
I can’t complain too much because I’ve been given the opportunity, I’m working my way up the ladder. The end goal is to be world champion but you’ve got to start somewhere, haven’t you?”