by Johnny Walker
Rising UK heavyweight David Price staked his claim tonight as one of the leading contenders to end the Klitschko era of supremacy by destroying the rugged veteran Matt Skelton at the Aintree Equestrian Centre in his hometown of Liverpool.
Unlike Price’s previous victim, Audley Harrison, the 45-year-old Skelton tried to provide some opposition, but Price just had too much firepower. The awkward Skelton came out aggressive, putting his head into the giant Liverpudlian’s chest, and initially Price had some trouble timing his shots. The British and Commonwealth champion finally scored with a big right hand which stunned his opponent momentarily, but Skelton was able to recover and finish the round.
Price started finding the range in round two, and a left hook followed by a hard right hand shook Skelton, who signaled that he was still ready to mix it up. Price then caught Skelton with a hard left hook to the body as he came in, and the fight was nearly over. Skelton backed away to the ropes, where Price calmly let fly with head shots and two hard lefts to the body.
Skelton crumpled to the canvas and his corner threw in the towel, but referee Richard Davies didn’t see it. He counted Skelton out and the fight was over, with David Price being declared the victor at 2:56 of round two.
“Matt put it on me right away, took me by surprise,” Price said after the fight.
“I made a statement by taking him out in less than two rounds. Body shots are something we work on all the time. I caught him with a left hook on the way in.”
Price now looks to a fight early next year with veteran American Tony Thompson, whose only losses in recent years have been to world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
As for Price’s main domestic rival, fellow giant Tyson Fury (who fights American Kevin Johnson tomorrow night in Belfast), Price’s promoter Frank Maloney offered 650,000 English pounds to the Anglo-Irishman for a fight against his charge next summer in a UK soccer stadium.
The genial Price was typically droll when asked about Fury, who recently called him a “plumber from Liverpool.”
“Just tell [Fury] keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll do me talking in the ring.
“I’m so lucky to have Tyson Fury around — we all need a nemesis in boxing.
“May the best man win — me, of course!”