David Price will make his BoxNation debut on October 13 against Audley Harrison, and he's not trying to oversell this domestic-level fight against a name as something it's not in this refreshingly honest interview with the network. So get to know David Price (13-0, 11 KO) if you haven't done so already.
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"You've got the fight coming up. Not too far away now. First obvious question, how are the preparations going? What stage are you now?"
"At this stage of the game, just about to start my sparring. All the hard work is in the bag. All the core fitness work. I stay in the gym out of camp as well. I like to be reasonably fit heading into a training camp, then we turn the screw. We've been in camp for six weeks now. So the core fitness is there. I'm probably not going to get any fitter in regards doing laps around the track or lifting weights or whatever. I've probably plateaued as far as that's concerned. It's now time to get the rounds in in sparring, get the ring fitness."
"So it's sharpness now you're looking for."
"Yeah, sharpness, and shake a bit of ring rust off, because I haven't boxed for, like, five, four months or so. But it doesn't take much for me to get the sharpness back in sparring. Two, three spars. My first spar's always the worst. I end up having a war, and getting black eyes, come out black and blue. A few spars in, and the timing comes and I'm switched on. I probably don't need as much sparring as the average boxer, but we do it anyway just to get the ring fitness up."
"And presumably, you need an Audley Harrison -- if not a lookalike, then certainly a style-alike. You need a big guy, and a big southpaw."
"I think in sparring you're never going to get an exact replica of your opponent, no matter who you fight, unless you're going to spar Audley Harrison yourself. But we've searched high and low, all over Europe, and we've come up with a few good, decent names. Unbeaten fighters. Tall southpaws. It's pretty much as close to the real thing as you can get. Flanny, my trainer Flanny Smith, he's done a good job identifying them. They're gonna come over to Liverpool next week, which is a good thing. I won't have to travel. I'll have them over, and they're at my disposal."
"As a kid, as a young fighter, I guess Audley must have been somebody who you looked up to."
"Yeah. 100%. Especially when I was 17, he won the Olympics. I'd just broken into the Young England set-up, and there's this big super heavyweight who went on two win Olympic gold, and he was the talk of the country. At the time I was at heavyweight, which is 91kg, and 91 and above is super heavyweight, and they wanted to groom me into the next super heavyweight, next Audley Harrison type of thing. So it was always a natural thing for me to look up to him, and to, you know, admire what he'd done, really, and use it as a motivation for myself."
"Did he help you as an amateur? Did he give you advice?"
"Once -- I mean, to be honest, I've only met Audley Harrison once outside of press conferences for this fight, and that was in California a couple of years ago. I'd spoken to him once on the phone. But the one time on the phone I did speak to him, it was before I traveled to Beijing, and he called me up from California and gave me a good pep talk type of thing. About a positive mental attitude heading into the Olympics, it's all his own types of theories that worked for him in the Olympics. He gave me a call, and I appreciated it, it helped me heading over there. But aside from that, I haven't had much to do with Audley Harrison."
"So when you step into the ring against him up in Liverpool, and there you've got the Olympic champion up against you, what sort of mindset do you have to have going up against him?"
"Well, I have to be realistic and remember that the Olympic games that he won was 12 years ago. And that he's 40 years old now, so -- the truth is, Audley Harrison on paper is past his best. But the mindset that I have to have is that I'm fighting the best possible Audley Harrison. Which is probably someone, mid-2000s, somebody who fought Danny Williams and took him apart. That's the mindset I've got in training. On the night, I've got to be switched on 100%. As they said, they don't give away Olympic medals."
"I've commentated on Audley, you know, many times, and he can be two different fighters, can't he? If he fancies the fight, as against Danny Williams, then the guy's a handful."
"Of course he is. That's why I've said in the build-up to this fight, if he's on ball, Audley Harrison, he's dangerous for any heavyweight in the world. Because he can obviously punch, and he's a tall southpaw, and he's got the pedigree which won him the Olympic gold medal. So I'll be going in there definitely respectful of him, but I won't be showing him too much respect. Because at the end of the day, I'm coming through, and I feel like I'm coming through like a freight train who can take anyone out. And if he gets in my way, then I'm just gonna get him out of the way. That's the mentality I've got to have. I can't let Audley Harrison stand in my way of moving on to bigger and better things in boxing."
"What's the key in the fight? Obviously you're the bigger man, but do you think you're the heavier handed as well?"
"I think I am heavier handed than him. Audley's a good counter puncher, and he's got a good defense. I'm younger. I feel like I'll be fitter and fresher, and I want to set a pace which Audley isn't gonna like. Audley likes to fight at his own pace. I don't know whether he's had anyone in front of him who sets the pace like me. And I'm not talking about throwing a million punches. I'm talking about constantly being on him. It's a different type of pressure from what you'd see from a usual pressure fighter. There's a few key things in the fight. It's who can set the jab, and things like that. But we're working on it in the gym. I'm confident if I see an opening and land a solid shot, then I can capitalize on it and close the show. But it may take longer than it would with a conventional fighter, because Audley, as I said, because of his negativity and the way he fights, it means he's a good defensive boxer. So I might have to wait a little bit longer to find an opening. At the same time, be switched on 100% myself, because he can make you miss and make you pay."
"Tickets racing out as well, Liverpool expects."
"Yeah, tickets are flying out. I mean, it's heading toward a sellout even at this early stage, and that's just testament to how enthusiastic the people of Liverpool are with boxing. And it's a big fight because I'm obviously the heavyweight coming out of the city, who's doing well, and the first British heavyweight champion from the city. And Audley Harrison's the household name, and a bit of -- a bit of the villain, isn't he, in boxing? A lot of people want to see him get beaten, but he's still got his own group of hardcore fans as well, Audley. So it's selling well. And it's gonna be a sellout on the night, I think, and the atmosphere is gonna be electric."