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Thursday, March 28, 2013
David Price-Tony Thompson rematch

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

British heavyweight David Price, who was shockingly stopped in the second round by Tony Thompson earlier this year in a major upset, will get a chance to even the score, promoter Frank Maloney announced Wednesday night.

Price, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2012 ESPN.com prospect of the year, will meet Thompson in a rematch July 6 at Echo Arena -- the same venue at which they had their first fight -- in Liverpool, England, Price's hometown, Maloney said. BoxNation will televise the bout in Great Britain.

Maloney said he had "secret negotiations" with Thompson, who does not have a promoter, for the past two weeks before the contracts for the scheduled 12-round bout were signed Tuesday night.

The 29-year-old Price (15-1, 13 KOs) was the hottest heavyweight prospect in boxing when he ran into Thompson on Feb. 23 in what was expected to be a good test for him on his way to a possible world title shot.

Thompson (37-3, 25 KOs), a 41-year-old southpaw from Washington, D.C., was a big underdog. Many viewed him as being on his last legs because of his age and because he was coming off a one-sided sixth-round knockout loss to heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in July. It was the second time Klitschko had knocked out Thompson in a world championship fight.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Price got off to a very strong start and was seemingly on the verge of stopping the 6-5, 260-pound Thompson in the second round. But Thompson worked himself out of distress and rallied to catch Price with a short right hand that caught him on a delicate area on the side of the head, around the ear and neck.

Price immediately went down to his rear end, his right leg folding underneath him. He beat the count, but his balance was gone and referee Steve Gray called off the fight at 2 minutes, 17 seconds, while the previously raucous pro-Price crowd of about 8,000 suddenly sat in stunned silence.

"There was a rematch clause in the original contract, but it was still far from easy to make it happen," Maloney said. "Because it was such a big win for Thompson, there was a lot of interest in him from rival promoters, but we got there and he has signed. There were other options for David also, but he and his trainer, Franny Smith, were adamant they wanted Thompson again. There have been a lot of nasty things said about David since the first Thompson bout, but this proves his fighting heart.

"Not many fighters have begged me to jump straight back in with someone who has beaten them. The fans in Liverpool have been magnificent to David over the last 12 months, and I am sure they will respond and get behind the fight."