LAUREN PRICE IMPRESSES ON HER DEBUT WITH A DOMINANT POINTS VICTORY
By Lucy McDonald
As only the second ever female from Team GB to box their way to Olympic gold, Lauren Price’s professional debut brought with it a high expectation, and the 27-year-old did not disappoint when she delivered a smart boxing display at the OVO Arena in Wembley.
With just 12 minutes to get into her rhythm, it was only possible to catch glimpses of what Price has to offer. Her lightning-fast combinations, solid footwork, and awkward southpaw stance all contributed as she eased her way to a 60-54 decision against Valgerdur Gudstensdottiri.
Admitting immediately after the fight that she was keen not to rush her work and simply showcase her boxing skill, which she was highly successful in doing, Price now has six valuable rounds of experience under her belt and has put her potential future opponents firmly on notice.
As is often the case with highly successful Olympians, every promoter wants to sign the stars upon their transition from amateur to professional boxing. Price, along with several of her teammates from the GB squad, signed a promotional deal with Ben Shalom and BOXXER when she turned over. Recently, a few big names in the British fight game have announced their retirement from the sport, take British boxing legend Amir Khan as a prime example, and this left boxing fans pondering where our next crop of talent would arrive from.
At the Tokyo 2020 Games, Team GB brought home the best haul of medals of any boxing squad in over a century. Ben Shalom of BOXXER made it his ultimate priority to focus his attention on them, the next generation. Having expressed her excitement for Shalom’s plans for the future, and his dedication to giving female fighters a big platform to showcase their ability, Price insisted that her decision to fight under the BOXXER banner was the right one. With her professional debut airing live on Sky Sports as the co-main event for Richard Riakporhe vs Fabio Turchi, under the lights at the OVO Arena, ahead of an English title bout and a WBC international silver title bout, it is difficult to argue that with that choice.
Price’s trainer, Rob McCracken, who is well known for having guided Anthony Joshua from Olympic glory to world titles, was delighted with her performance.
Although Gudstensdottiri asked a few questions of his fighter, she was quick to find the answers. He has acknowledged that Price is the most talented female fighter he has ever worked with and is highly confident that she can only get better. The dream started with competing in the Olympics and that dream came to life in spectacular fashion. The dream has now shifted to becoming a world champion and Price possesses all the ingredients for yet another dream to manifest into reality. She will aim to reach the highest possible heights of a professional boxing career alongside McCracken, and there are few coaches out there who are better qualified to take a world-class Olympian and make them a world-class professional.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was hosted without a crowd, and this was the first time in a long time that the Welshwoman had fought in front of fans. Price expressed in her post-fight interview just how much she had enjoyed the experience, her gratitude to her fans who bought tickets for the event and that the atmosphere they created in the arena really spurred her on. Special occasions are in close sight for her and her fanbase, a fanbase that will grow in numbers as she progresses through her career.
With women’s boxing being in such a strong place right now, it is impeccable timing for someone as skilled as Price to enter the pro ranks. In this case, however, this is not simply a tale of an outstanding amateur boxer who aims to excel as a professional, it is the entirety of her life’s work that makes her such an inspiration and a role model for any young female athlete. Not only is she an Olympic gold medallist, but a successful former kickboxer and professional footballer for Cardiff City FC as well as Wales senior team. This story, without the need to mention a boxing world title, depicts precisely what it is to be a true champion. Price’s debut was only the beginning of what promises to be an unmissable journey.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer