- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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While champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko continue to dominate the heavyweight division and other contenders continue to take aim with no success, the hunt is always on for the next big thing.
In America, exciting Seth Mitchell has gotten a lot of publicity and has been featured on HBO in his past two fights. The Klitschkos have mentioned him as a possible future opponent, even though it's clear after Mitchell had such a rough time with Chazz Witherspoon on April 28 that he's still a work in progress.
British fight fans also have high hopes for some of their big men who have yet to get a title opportunity, such as Tyson Fury. But the most intriguing British heavyweight prospect is David Price (12-0, 10 KOs), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist who also happens to own an amateur win against Fury. He, too, is on the Klitschkos' radar.
Price, 28, sure looks the part. At 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, he is just as big as the Klitschko brothers. He also has tremendous power, especially in his right hand.
On Saturday night in Liverpool, England, Price will face easily his sternest test as a pro when he takes on 27-year-old countryman Sam Sexton (15-2, 6 KOs), a former Commonwealth champion whose only losses came by knockout against former world title challenger Dereck Chisora.
Sexton is a step up for Price, who has moved a little slowly since turning pro in 2009. But at least he will be moving in the right direction when he faces the 6-2, 240-pound Sexton for the vacant British title.
"It would be the biggest achievement of my career," Price said of what winning the British title would mean. "I've won Commonwealth Games gold and Olympic bronze as an amateur, which were both proud achievements. But to win that Lonsdale Belt is something I've had my eye on since turning pro. It's a lovely belt, and so many great fighters have held it. It will be the start of something big for me if I win this belt."
Fury and Price had been ordered to meet for the British title, but Fury -- who is more advanced in his pro career than Price and is considering more significant opportunities -- opted not to take the fight. That left Price to instead face Sexton. But Price said he's not putting pressure on himself because of the fact that Fury avoided him and that he is now getting a lot of attention.
"I've come under the radar quite a bit since I turned pro, and it's good to be getting attention," he said. "So I don't see it as pressure. I've got the same pressures as any other person in the world who's got a family and has to go out and earn some money. I'm no different from a fella who has to get up and lay bricks for a living. We've both got to go and perform."
Besides his amateur pedigree, Price has gained experience in the gym. He spent two weeks recently in Berlin sparring with Kubrat Pulev of Bulgaria, another top up-and-coming heavyweight, who recently defeated Alexander Dimitrenko to win the vacant European crown.
Price said he has sparred more to prepare for Sexton than he has for any of his previous 12 pro fights.
"It's been quality sparring all the way through," Price said. "On the track, I'm beating my best times, I'm lifting my heaviest weights and I'm developing as an athlete. It's a big occasion, and I just want to get in there and perform."
Like many pundits, Price views Sexton as his toughest opponent so far, at least on paper.
"It's going to be my most difficult fight since turning pro. He's the best opponent I've faced," Price said. "His strengths are probably his speed, of both hand and foot, and he's also a good technical boxer. I'd say he's definitely better than John McDermott [whom Price knocked out in the first round in January]. Every fighter has different qualities and different styles, but I'm preparing for whatever he brings to the table, and tactically we've got a few different plans to use on the night.
"He's a good all-around fighter and it's going to be a difficult fight, but I'm 100 percent confident I can win."
At 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, British heavyweight David Price has size (and power) to match that of the Klitschkos, who have him on their radar. Is he a legit threat to the brothers' thrones?