Liverpool heavyweight David Price will face his toughest test since his shock defeats to Tony Thompson two years ago when he challenges for the European title. He takes on undefeated Erkan Teper, in a fight that can see him begin to rise back among the top names at heavyweight.
His losses to American Thompson in 2013 were a major setback for Price, who was being tipped as one of the potential heirs to the Klitschko brothers’ throne, but he insists he is over those defeats as he now looks to step back into the limelight.
The 6ft 8” Olympic bronze medalist isn’t expecting an easy night’s work when he steps in the ring in Ludwigsburg, Germany against the unbeaten Teper, who has won nine of his 14 fights by knockout. 33-year-old Teper will be looking to start fast against Price given he has lost twice by stoppage but the Merseyside hitter, who has 16 knockouts from 19 wins, has warned him he will be running headlong into disaster.
“If someone had said to me 18 months ago that you will be fighting for the European title at this point in time I would have snapped their hand off because back then it felt like there was going to be no other opportunities.
“But it’s also a lesson because things can change quickly if you keep working hard and don’t lose faith – we all have doubts in our minds – but if you keep working hard and plugging away you will get your rewards and that’s happening now.
“I could rest on my laurels and say I got back to this point and everything else is a bonus but I’m not looking at it like that. I want to get beyond this point because I feel that’s where I should be – heading towards world level – so I want to use this fight as that springboard.
“But that’s not disrespecting this fight in anyway because it is a massive fight and a great opportunity but I really do want to go beyond here.
“From what I’ve seen he’s going to try and come out and start fast. Now, because I’ve lost by stoppage people have it in their head that it will be easy to knock me out so they come out and start head hunting straight away but it plays into my hands.
“I’m not particularly worried about his power because it’s the same with any other heavyweight if you get hit on the chin you’re likely going to end up feeling it.
“So it’s not like I’m going to go in there worrying about his power – if anything he should be worrying about mine because he’s there to be hit.
“I’m the better fighter defensively but I do expect him to come out and start fast and try and put it on me early but he’s more than welcome because I’m prepared.”
In recent times Price has had to take a back seat as rivals such as Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have seen their careers blossom, with the latter now set to face world champion Wladimir Klitschko later this year. A Price-Fury showdown was long mooted before Price’s setbacks but should he claim the vacant European title in his upcoming fight he would be more than happy to finally step in the ring with Manchester’s Fury.
“It’s still a fight I would like but I don’t think it will happen at the end of this year because of his plans. Once I’ve established myself as European champion then it’s a fight that can be made as people will be interested in it again,” said Price.
“It’s definitely something that can happen next year and if he comes through the Klitschko fight it could even be for the world title but that’s for another day.
“I think he’s up against it [against Klitschko]. He might cause Klitschko a few problems with his style but I think Klitschko will have too much for him,” he said.