by Johnny Walker
Rising UK heavyweight giant David Price (15-0, 13 KOs) says he’s ready to take the next step up in world title quest by taking on American veteran Tony “The Tiger” Thompson (36-3, 24 KOs), which he will do in his hometown of Liverpool on February 23.
And as always, in the back of current British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Price’s mind is the rivalry he has with fellow Brit and undefeated giant Tyson Fury, whose presence is never too far removed from any boxing conversation Price has.
But first things first, and Price tells Seconds Out in a new video interview that Thompson presents challenges he needs at this point in his career, even if he would have liked a little more time to prepare for the man who has twice fought (and lost) to world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
“To be honest, we wanted a bit more time to prepare for this fight, maybe March time,” says the genial Liverpudlian.
“But at the end of the day, I’m still fit and fresh. I switched off mentally over Christmas, which is what I needed. I mean, I weren’t physically tired, I was mentally tired more with the build-up to big fights and I needed a little bit of a break and I got that, and I’m ready to crack on again.
“It is important to stay busy, and I’m staying busy.”
If there’s been any criticism of Price so far, it’s that he has been quickly knocking out opponents whose sell by dates have long passed: his last two victims, the hapless Audley Harrison and the ancient Matt Skelton, were members of the 40+ club, and at age 41, Thompson represents no change from that pattern.
Nevertheless, Thompson, who looked considerably faded in his second crack at Klitschko last year, is surely a step up in class from the domestic opponents Price has been feeding on to date. And the Scouse giant seems downright anxious to prove he’s up to the test that his main rival Fury has already passed: to be able to handle moments of adversity in the ring, moments that are sure to come as he moves up in the division.
Price is convinced that Thompson is the man to ask him some questions he’s so far not had to answer in the ring as a professional.
“Tony Thompson is gonna pose a real threat to me,” says Price with an air of certainty.
“He’s gonna do what Audley Harrison could have done or should have done on the night, but I just pulled the carpet from under his feet. So, you know, it’s a great fight for me.”
Price says he is elated that retired American heavyweight Chris Byrd, an ex-champion who took on both Klitschko brothers, recently stated that Price and Fury are the future of the heavyweight division. And he says that the two Brits need to take advantage of the buzz that’s been created by such statements by agreeing to a domestic mega-fight before something comes along to derail the whole thing.
Price also realizes that as of now, the USA, which used to own the heavyweight division, can only enviously cast its eyes toward the situation in the UK, where not only himself and Fury, but David Haye and Dereck Chisora also reside.
“For [Chris Byrd] to be saying that shows how big a fight between me and Tyson Fury will be,” Price contends.
“And you know, over on the other side of the Atlantic people realize how big it’s going to be.
“So I think it’s important we make the fight soon rather than later, because we don’t want to miss the boat, we want to strike while the iron is hot. So if we get something sorted soon and get the fight made, we can both get the job done and prove who is the better man.”