There is a growing feeling that David Price, and not Tyson Fury, is the best, most exciting heavyweight contender on English shores.
The new and still-undefeated British and Commonwealth titleholder would love the chance to prove it but knows that will not happen any time soon with countryman Fury intent on sidestepping him.
Fury labelled Price “a bum” a couple of weeks ago, an attack which the 28-year-old Liverpool star has dismissed as unintelligent – given Fury (18-0, 13 knockouts) vacated the two belts which Price (13-0, 11 KOs) won in his home city last Saturday.
For now, there is nothing Price can do to settle the domestic dispute. So, instead, he plans to continue his own perfect rise up the world ladder, confident that will be more than enough to seriously rattle the cage of his mouthy Manchester rival.
“It just shows the intelligence of the man to call a boxer as good as me ‘a bum’,” said Price, Merseyside’s first-ever British heavyweight champion after his explosive fourth-round KO over Sam Sexton at the weekend. “Fury is not on my agenda because he had the chance to defend these British and Commonwealth belts, against me, but decided to relinquish and go elsewhere.
“There is a rivalry that goes back to the amateur days but it wasn’t much of a rivalry. It was more like an obsession – with me from him – because I was doing everything he wanted to do. Now, we’re in the pros, it’s going to be exactly the same…unfortunately for him.”
If Fury is off the radar, where does Price, who looked several classes above Norwich opponent Sexton, head from here? Aside British outcasts David Haye and Dereck Chisora, who are due to meet on July 14, there is nobody at home to trouble him.
But while some are calling on him to break the Klitschko brothers’ grip at the top of the division now, the respectful 6-foot-8 Price believes that would be jumping the gun.
“The British title is a massive achievement for me. It outdoes winning bronze at the Olympics and gold at the Commonwealth,” he said. “I’m buzzing, but this is just the start and I want to go onto much bigger things.
“What we have to do is select opponents, who are going to test me and get me ready for the Klitschkos, if they’re still champions by the stage I’m challenging for world titles. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves just because I’ve beaten Sam Sexton.
“He’s a good fighter but there are much tougher opponents out there and I’m nowhere near the finished article. There is a lot of hard work to be done in the gym, which I’m willing to put in to get to where I want.”
His promoter Frank Maloney is in no rush either, very much aware Price may not have to face either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko en route to a world title – should the Ukrainian pair retire before his man is ready.
“I think he’d hold his own with the Klitschkos now, and maybe beat them. But now is not the right time for those fights,” said Maloney, who used to manage former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. “If they are still here in 18 months, then it might be right.
“But I believe 18 months’ down the road, the Klitschkos will be out of the business and the boxing world will be looking for a new king.
“I’d like David to win the Lonsdale belt outright, if there is the calibre of opponent out there, then step up to European level and then the world stage. He’s on the world stage now but when he goes for the world title, we want him ready to win it and bring it back to Britain.”
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