DAVID PRICE plans to put himself back into world title contention by winning the vacant European heavyweight title against Germany’s Erkan Teper at the Ludwigsburg MHP Arena in Germany on Friday night. Z!-Promotions won the purse bids for this one and BoxNation will televise in the UK.
The Liverpudlian was well on his way to fighting for world honours before back-to-back stoppage defeats to Tony Thompson in 2013 scuppered those plans and left his future looking bleak. His response was to join forces with promoters Team Sauerland and rebuild his career away from home, fighting in Germany and Denmark.
Since the Thompson defeats, Price has picked up three early wins against Istvan Ruzsinsky, Ondrej Pala and Irineu Beato Costa Junior as well as a 10-round decision over Yaroslav Zavorotnyi. Although the opposition has not been stellar, those wins will have helped Price rediscover some of the confidence developed through bludgeoning the likes of Audley Harrison and Sam Sexton earlier in his career.
His first loss to Thompson decimated his unbeaten record and while the stoppage itself may have been more to do with a loss of equilibrium – Price took a heavy shot to the ear – it certainly took a psychological toll. Those effects showed in their rematch, in which Price’s nerves were obvious and his energy levels plummeted early on despite scoring a knockdown. Thompson rose and rallied back, bullying Price into a corner and forcing the stoppage.
Price was initially scheduled to appear on Matchroom’s bill in Liverpool on June 26, but a neck injury ruled him out. Price’s willingness to fight back in his hometown with the spotlight back on him highlights his positive mindset.
Now, with momentum back in his favour, the former British and Commonwealth champion faces the unbeaten Teper in his native country for a belt which should stand him in good stead in the world rankings. The 33-year-old is a stiff test for Price and will provide significant insight into how well the Brit can do in the future. His consecutive first-round stoppages of Michael Sprott and Martin Rogan in 2013 prove his punching power and a convincing 12-round decision over Johann Duhaupas in his most recent fight showed he does not rely on that power and has the engine to go the distance.
Price is well aware of the dangers of this fight and almost met Teper as an amateur.
“He’s my toughest opponent since Tony Thompson,” he told Boxing News.
“He’s a tough guy, he’s unbeaten for a reason so it’s definitely a hard fight. He’s probably a bigger puncher than Thompson.
“I’ve seen the majority of his fights. He’s tall, he can definitely take a shot but he’s yet to face anyone like me so we’ll see how he stands up to my punches.
“He’s strong, he’s tough, he’s a pretty solid fighter and he’s unbeaten. He has a couple of first round knockout wins against Michael Sprott and Martin Rogan.
“He was in the amateurs with me, believe it or not, but we never crossed paths. He was at the same Olympic qualifiers as I was but he lost to Christian Hammer, who I went on to beat to qualify.”
Price went on the win bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and he has carried those stellar boxing skills into the paid ranks. Although he can sometimes leave his chin exposed for too long, he has a decent jab and utilises his huge 6ft 8in frame to box at range and wind up his destructive right hand. His chin is by no means imperishable, but it is not as suspect as some would believe after the Thompson losses. Teper is likely to test Price’s whiskers and the Brit may have some worrying spells given the German’s pressurising style and effective counters, but he should be able to produce the goods and force a late stoppage.
TALE OF THE TAPE-
DOB/AGE-Jul 6, 1983/32
HOMETOWN– Liverpool, UK
RECORD– 19-2 (16)
HEIGHT– 6ft 8ins
DEBUT/AGE– Mar 28, 2009/25
KO PERCENTAGE– 76
12 ROUNDS FOUGHT/WON– 0/0
DOB/AGE– Jun 18, 1982/33
HOMETOWN– Ahlen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
RECORD– 14-0 (9)
HEIGHT– 6ft 5ins
DEBUT/AGE– Sep 4, 2010/28
KO PERCENTAGE– 64
12 ROUNDS FOUGHT/WON– 1/1
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