What Lauren Price says, usually comes true. And her de ella sporting track record is brimming with reasons to believe her professional boxing debut de ella will be a mere stepping stone towards fulfilling world title ambitions.
She set out to become kickboxing world champion and did, four times; she set out to play football for both Cardiff City and Wales and did, winning the 2012/13 Welsh Premier Women’s Football League title; she set out to box at the Olympics and did, clinching gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
All have been expertly compartmentalized and ticked off as opposed to one-venture-after-another opportunism, leading Price to her next new but always written phase.
On Saturday she makes her Sky Sports bow against Valgerdur Gudstensdottir having previously been hailed by trainer Rob McCracken as the best female boxer he has come across. The Welsh phenomenon has set the bar high, as she always does.
“Fighting in Cardiff would be the dream, fighting in Principality Stadium and winning a world title,” she told Sky Sports.
She cut an unflappable figure at Thursday’s press conference as she joked BOXXER CEO Ben Shalom could stage an ‘Olympians’ show such is the Games-rich stable he has constructed.
The 27-year-old triumphed against China’s Li Qian in the final of last year’s middleweight tournament, but while Tokyo will live forever in her memory, the focus now is on establishing herself in the same conversation as the Claressa Shields’, Savannah Marshalls, Katie Taylors and Amanda Serranos of the boxing world. In layman’s terms – at the top.
“I look at it as something that will always be up there at the top. I don’t think anything will ever top that, but for me, I put that behind me now, it’s a new journey, a new start, a new chapter. It’s all about having a good debut and moving on from there,” Price added.
It’s perhaps thanks to the Olympics that Price finds herself in this position.
“For me, I kickboxed from the age of eight, watching Kelly Holmes on TV going to the Olympics that was my dream, my goal, going to the Olympics.
“When boxing was introduced in 2012 that was kind of my main aim then, to switch over to boxing and to get myself on Team GB and pursue that dream of going to the Olympics.”
Price was scouted by Cardiff City as a child before going on to win a league title and FAW Club Player of the Year at senior level, as well as captaining the Wales U-19 team and earning a senior debut in June 2012. Her resume also includes six European kickboxing titles to accompany her quartet of world crowns.
She admits, though, that a boxing ring is where she feels at home.
“100 per cent, I’ve played football for Wales, I’ve kickboxed, but I’ve been boxing since I was 16 at a high level, achieved everything as an amateur and I don’t think I’m doing bad so I think I’ll stick with boxing,” she laughed.
“It’s obviously different, with football it’s completely different, a team sport, team on the field with you. Both sports are great, but it’s just something about boxing when you’re in that ring and you get your hand raised, there’s no better feeling than that.”
It was upon competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, in which she earned bronze, that Price landed at the decision to step away from football for good in favor of committing to the ring.
“I played football and boxing alongside one another, and in 2014 I had the opportunity to go the Commonwealth Games. Playing one international sport is hard let alone two so I had to make the decision,” she explained.
“I thought if boxing didn’t go well for me I could always go back to football but luckily it did, I won a medal at the Commonwealth Games and it just went on from there.”
The following years would see her collect bronze medals at the 2016 and 2018 European Championships – to go with her 2011 bronze in Rotterdam – along with bronze at the 2018 World Championships, gold at the 2019 World Championships and gold at the 2019 European Games before enjoying success in Tokyo.
She credits her nan and late grandad as major influences in her rise having brought Price up in Caerphilly – even if they have had to watch through their fingers at times.
“My nan, she won’t watch! In the Olympics she’d get the result first and then she’d watch it back,” said Price. “She’s very proud of me, my granddad has passed away now but they supported me right from the start.”
On the rare occasion Price is doing something unrelated to sport, she can often be found enjoying a Nando’s with partner Karriss Artingstall, who has also signed a long-term promotional agreement with Boxxer after winning bronze in Tokyo.
“We’re stuck to each other’s side, which is pretty special,” said Price, admitting that boxing’s dietary demands have also been made easier thanks to Artingstall’s cooking skills.
The pair begin and share their journey as two of the latest additions to a thriving women’s era. One they believe they can further strengthen.
“It’s absolutely flying isn’t it. I think we turned pro at the right time and it’s really exciting and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Price.
Watch Lauren Price make her professional debut against Valgerdur Gudstensdottir at Wembley Arena on the undercard of Richard Riakporhe’s cruiserweight world title eliminator against Fabio Turchi. Germaine Brown takes on Zak Chelli, while Chris Kongo and Viddal Riley are also in action.