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Lauren Price: Middleweight aims to continue Welsh ‘buzz’ on professional debut

Lauren Price is aiming to add professional world titles to her Olympic gold

Lauren Price is determined to cap a thrilling week of Welsh sporting success when she makes her professional debut against Valgerdur Gudstensdottir.

The Tokyo Olympics middleweight champion, 27, will enter the pro ranks on Saturday at Wembley Arena.

Price is “buzzing” after Joe Cordina claimed the IBF super-featherweight title and the men’s football team qualified for the World Cup.

“I’m over the moon for Joe and the men qualifying,” Price said.

“I know Joe well, I was on the team with him, went to the [2014] Commonwealth Games with him in Glasgow, so to see him become world champion, I’m really chuffed for him.

“He dropped me a message. I spoke to him on Instagram and congratulated him. I’m very proud to be Welsh, we are a small nation but we get behind one another.”

Before committing to boxing, Price had won kickboxing world titles and as a talented footballer made her senior debut for the Wales women’s team.

Her love of ‘the beautiful game’ remains strong – especially when Wales are playing – and Price was on tenterhooks last Sunday when the men’s team faced Ukraine in the World Cup play-off final, Wales win 1-0 to reach the tournament for the first time since 1958.

“I had it on the radio, [former Wales internationals] Tash Harding and Nathan Blake, because I was driving back to camp,” Price said.

“There were 15 minutes left and Ukraine were putting the pressure on and I was thinking ‘please don’t let them equalize’. It was great when that final whistle went. I was buzzing.

“I am Welsh, I am proud. When I’ve got the Welsh dragon on my vest it is something that I am always proud of, it was the same when I was playing football. It will be the same tomorrow [Saturday] night, I have got a Welsh dragon on my shorts.”

Joe Cordina produced a stunning second-round knock-out of champion Kenichi Ogawa to take the IBF super-featherweight title
Joe Cordina produced a stunning second-round knock-out of champion Kenichi Ogawa to take the IBF super-featherweight title and start a week of thrilling Welsh sporting action

Despite her vast experience in the amateur boxing ranks, Price admits the switch to being professional comes with more than a few nerves.

“Yes a little bit, if you haven’t got nerves then there’s something wrong,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to it more than anything. I’m quite relaxed, I just want to go in there and enjoy myself. You only get one pro debut so I am looking to put in a good performance.

“I ticked every box as an amateur. I won gold at Tokyo, came back and it was the right time to turn over. Women’s boxing is flying at the minute so there is no better time to turn over and start the new journey. new goal is to go and win some world titles.”

Although Price already has her sights on world titles, on Saturday she will begin with a six-round fight against an Icelandic opponent she admits she knows little about.

“I’m going into two minutes, as an amateur I got three minutes, so I’ll be boxing six twos tomorrow, no headguard and with a crowd as well,” she said.

“But I’m more experienced, I’ve been at the highest level as an amateur and I’ve prepared well, so I’ll be fine.

“I don’t know much about her [Gudstensdottir], she’s had seven fights, I think, won five and lost two, but that’s all I really know. I’m just going to focus on myself, do what I’m good at and I can always adapt in whatever I need to do.

“I don’t feel pressure, I just take it in my stride, I’m laid back as it is, I just want to go out and put in a good performance and if I do that I’ll get a win.

“Whoever is in front of me is going to want to beat me, I don’t think of it as pressure, I thrive off it really.

“Even as an amateur I always had a little bit of pressure going into tournaments as I was seeded number one and favorite for gold. I don’t think of it as pressure, I think of it as an opportunity. I suppose that’s where it’s got me today.”

Price is fighting on the undercard of the IBF cruiserweight title eliminator between Richard Riakporhe and Fabio Turchi, which also features the WBC international silver welterweight championship fight between Chris Kongo and Sebastian Formella, and Zak Chelli vs. Germaine Brown for the English super-middleweight title.

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