David Price returns against fellow heavyweight prospect Tom Dallas on Saturday. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dave Oakes previews Saturday's Sky Sports show (Price-Dallas after the jump).
A battle of two Edwards headlines this Saturday’s live Sky show. Chris, the former British and Commonwealth flyweight champion, challenges Paul for the latter’s British title.
Paul, 8-0 (KO 2), won the title in an unsatisfactory manner against Shinny Bayaar last December, a head clash leaving Bayaar with an horrendous gash on his forehead that prompted the referee to call a halt to proceedings less than two minutes in. Under the then rulings, Bayaar lost his title in the cruellest of manners.
Thankfully the British Boxing Board of Control has since changed its ruling on fights being stopped due to cuts resulting from accidental head clashes. That won’t be much comfort for Bayaar, though, who was the last British boxer to suffer from the previous ruling that was in place.
There can be no doubting Paul had a bit of luck in winning the title but he’s determined to prove he’s a worthy champion in this, his first defence. He has the look of a fighter who’s hungry to prove himself and has, in the build-up to this fight, spoken with a sensible, level headedness that belies his inexperience.
Chris, 15-14-3 (KO 4), is now at the veteran stage of his career, he’s thirty-five years old and knows this may be his last chance to reclaim the title he first won in late 2007 when he outpointed the current European and Commonwealth champion Jamie McDonnell.
He’s a lot better than his record suggests, most of his defeats were in the early part of his career when he was boxing to earn a few quid rather than to win titles. He’s only lost two of his last eleven; those were against Andy Bell and the aforementioned Bayaar.
Chris’s best wins came against the classy and underrated Dale Robinson, who he also drew with, and Jamie McDonnell, whose inexperience allowed Chris to hustle and bustle his way to victory. Interestingly, McDonnell’s then record (8-0-1 KO 2) and reputation was very similar to what Paul Edwards’ is now.
Paul starts the favourite - his youth, unbeaten record and amateur pedigree (he’s a former ABA champion) seemingly giving him the edge over the older man. Chris is no pushover though; he’s only been stopped three times in his career and possesses great stamina, work-rate and heart.
It’s evident that, barring injury, the fight will go the full twelve rounds. Chris will be his usual energetic self, fighting on the front foot, trying to pressurize and grind down the champion. Paul will be trying to pick the challenger off as he comes in before moving out of range, I also believe he’ll look to land body shots to slow Chris down.
This should be an entertaining fight but Paul should be the happier of the Edwards’ come the final bell. The champion should be able to box his way to a points decision in the 116-112 region.
Two unbeaten heavyweight prospects meet on the undercard; David Price and Tom Dallas do battle over a scheduled ten rounds. Price was due to face John McDermott but illness forced the big man out.
Price, 10-0 (KO 8), has had everything stacked in his favour thus far in his pro career, some of his opponents have been laughable. Osborne Machimana in particular left ringsiders exasperated - he is up there with the worst boxers I’ve seen in a British ring. Price has been getting some top class sparring over the past two years; hopefully he will have learned more from that than he has from his fights.
Dallas, 15-0 (KO 11), represents a solid step-up in class - he’ll be the first boxer Price has fought with a winning record and he carries reasonable punch power. He’s not the most technically gifted boxer, being too upright, robotic and flat-footed - as was witnessed in his struggle against Zack Page last time out - but what he has got is pride, toughness and ambition.
There’s a feeling that Price is chinny, he was no stranger to visiting the canvas in his amateur days and Dallas certainly hits hard enough to hurt Price. It could be a case of who lands the first telling blow as Price’s straight right is a potent weapon and Dallas’ chin isn’t hard to locate either.
Dallas will be dangerous, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he was to bring proceedings to an abrupt end if he lands one of his clubbing hooks, but Price is the better boxer, has extensive amateur experience to draw on and is fighting in front of his hometown fans. With that in mind, Price should be able to get the job done around the fifth round.