Lauren Price wants to ‘be in massive fights’ after impressive display in Cardiff

By Phil Blanche, PA

Lauren Price has expressed her determination to unify a stacked women’s welterweight division after winning world belts in only her seventh professional fight.

Price added WBA, IBO and Ring Magazine world titles to the Olympic gold medal she won as an amateur at Tokyo three years ago with a comprehensive victory over Jessica McCaskill in Cardiff on Saturday night.

McCaskill was unable to continue in the ninth round after an accidental clash of heads left an ugly swelling over the American champion’s left eye and the result in the hands of the three judges.

Price was crowned champion by unanimous scores of 90-82 after a skilled display that must have impressed rival world welterweight belt holders Ivana Habazin, Natasha Jonas and Sandy Ryan, who were all ringside at Cardiff’s Utilita Arena.

“The 147 division has great fights out there for me and I want to go all the way,” said Price after becoming Wales’ first female world champion and 14th in all.

“I want to come back, defend my belts and be in massive fights.

“I know they (the other world champions) were watching, but I’ll speak to my trainer Rob McCracken about the future.

“He’ll decide what I’ll do next and we’ll go from there.

Lauren Price v Jessica McCaskill – Cardiff Utilita Arena
Lauren Price, right, opens up against Jessica McCaskill in their world title fight in Cardiff (Bradley Collyer/PA) Photo by Bradley Collyer

“I said all along it wouldn’t beat that Olympic gold medal, but that ring walk and support I’ve received is definitely up there with it.

“We’re a small nation, but Welsh fans support their own and they came out for me.”

Price, a former kickboxing world champion and Wales footballer, says she dreams of fighting at the Cardiff City Stadium – where she has played both club and international football – or even the 74,500-capacity Principality Stadium in the Welsh capital.

While stadium fights may be a little way down the line, BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom believes major opportunities await for Price in both welterweight and middleweight divisions.

Shalom said: “What we’ve witnessed here was greatness – a superb talent and complete fighter – and I think we’ve seen the start of something special in boxing.

Natasha Jonas v Mikaela Mayer – Press Conference – Andaz London Liverpool Street
Rival IBF welterweight world champion Natasha Jonas could be a future opponent for Price (John Walton/PA) Photo by John Walton

“It’s a tall order to follow Katie Taylor in Ireland and what she did for that country, but I believe Lauren can emulate it in Wales.

“The welterweight division has so many big names, so many big fights, so many big opportunities. The fights are there.

“But you also look up to the middleweight division – where Lauren won her gold medal – and you’ve got Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields.

“I’ve never seen a fighter that I would feel confident with going up against Clarissa Shields, but with the right development and right path that is the super-fight of the future.

“They could be the two best females in women’s boxing.”