British Scene: David Price vs Matt Skelton Preview

David Price takes on Matt Skelton on Friday. - Scott Heavey

Dave Oakes previews Friday's British & Commonwealth title match-up between David Price and Matt Skelton.

Unbeaten David Price takes another ‘keep busy’ fight this Friday night when he makes the second defence of his British and Commonwealth titles against Matt Skelton.

The fight is coming just seven weeks after Price obliterated Audley Harrison in his first defence, so whilst it’s not the most mouth-watering bout, at least Price is active. Furthermore, Skelton should provide more of a challenge than Harrison did – even if Skelton gets knocked out in 90 seconds, he’ll go down swinging/grappling unlike Harrison.

Skelton has made the most of his ability during his long and successful career, winning British, Commonwealth and European titles. At 45 years of age it’s fair to say that the Bedford man is past his best, even if he looks to be in better physical shape now than he did ten years ago.

This will be Skelton’s first title fight since being stopped by Martin Rogan in a Commonwealth title bout nearly four years ago, one of three stoppage defeats on his record – the other two coming in consecutive fights following the Rogan loss.

Having taken the best part of eighteen months out of the ring, Skelton returned at the start of this year with a fifth round stoppage of Tom Dallas, in a fight that was meant to be a rebuilding job for Dallas after he’d been flattened by Price. Skelton has followed that win with another two stoppage victories, albeit against incredibly poor opposition, the last of which being on the Price/Harrison undercard.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what Skelton’s tactics will be, he’s a come forward fighter who will look to grab and maul Price around whilst clubbing him with any shot he can muster – a style I like to call ‘hump and thump’. We’re yet to see how Price copes with a mauling, brawling type of fighter but it’s not hard to envisage him enjoying facing someone who’ll walk onto his punches.

The biggest danger for Price will be complacency. Even in a fight where he should win with ease, he still can’t afford to take his eye off the ball, one punch can change everything at heavyweight and he won’t want any mishaps to scupper the potential big fights being rumoured for next year.

If Price can keep the fight at distance and avoid being mauled, the knockout should be a case of when, not if. Skelton will be taking heavy shots as he bulldozes his way forward and that’s not going to end well against Price, who has a right hand like a sledgehammer. The end should come within four rounds.

The undercard is not the best, thankfully Boxnation are also showing the Denton Vassell v Ronnie Heffron card from the M.E.N, so fans should get a decent night of boxing.

e-mail Dave Oakes

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