I was an Arsenal fan, had trials at Chelsea and played 52 times for Wales – now I’m boxing for a world title

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Lauren Price could’ve made a career for herself in football but she chose boxing instead.

The Newport southpaw is one of Britain’s most successful amateur boxers having picked up gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the Tokyo Olympics.

Price faces McCaskill in her first world title fight as a pro on May 11

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Price faces McCaskill in her first world title fight as a pro on May 11Credit: BOXXER

On May 11, at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff, Price bids to add a professional world title to her glistening trophy cabinet by snatching the WBA welterweight strap from long-reigning champion Jessica McCaskill in only her seventh pro bout.

The 29-year-old is widely considered to be one of the most exciting prospects in British boxing right now, but at one point it seemed as though she was destined to achieve similar heights in football.

Price was a talented player and represented Wales 52 times from Under-17 to senior level.

In club football, she plied her trade at Cardiff City and even had trials with Chelsea Women’s team.

However, ‘The Lucky One’ quickly fell in love with boxing and hasn’t looked back since.

“I had trials for Chelsea’s women’s team,” Price told talkSPORT.com.

“I was a massive Arsenal fan as well. Arsenal women’s team they are one of the best. I’ve played against them in the FA Cup and I played Champions League as well.

“At the time women’s football, wasn’t quite there. Looking back all those years it wasn’t where it is now.

Price played for Wales 52 times

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Price played for Wales 52 timesCredit: Getty
But she made the switch to boxing so she could fulfil her Olympic dream

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But she made the switch to boxing so she could fulfil her Olympic dreamCredit: Getty

“Obviously, the dream was to be in the Olympics. And I thought if boxing didn’t work, I would go back to playing football but I just fell in love with the sport and it just took off for me really.

“When people say to me, ‘Oh, do you miss football?’ I don’t, I don’t really miss it because I haven’t played for a long time now and because my career took off with boxing and I’ve been at the highest level and achieved so much in the sport.

“But I love football and I feel proud to have represented my country and walking out with the armband for the Under-19s was a big highlight as well.”

Boxing and football weren’t the only sports she excelled in.

Price was also an outstanding kickboxer and went on to become a four-time world champion and six-time European champion in the sport.

She ditched the kicks in 2012 after women’s boxing was introduced at the London Olympics – and nine years later she was standing at the top of the podium in Tokyo.

“London 2012 [Women’s] boxing got introduced into the Olympics and that made me want to get into boxing then.

“As a kickboxer, I was always better with my hands than my legs so it made sense. I went to the local gym. My grandad took me there and they sent me straight down to the Welsh National Centre.

Price won gold at the Tokyo Olympics

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Price won gold at the Tokyo OlympicsCredit: getty

“A week later I was on a plane to the Youth World Championships where I won a silver medal. My fight got stopped in the last round because I got a nose bleed and I was actually winning before then. So I think they obviously saw potential in me.

“The following year, I turned senior and went around different tournaments, picked up experience, I was still playing football at the time.

“As you can imagine, it is hard to do two international sports at a high level. And Colin Jones, the Welsh manager, said to me you’ve got the opportunity to go to the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and that’s when I turned my attention to boxing.

“I went on to win a bronze at the Commonwealth and then after Rio, I got straight onto Team GB in 2017.

“From there, my career just took off. I went on to win the Commonwealths, won the Worlds, won the European games and then after COVID I won the Olympics.”

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In May last year, Price made history by becoming the inaugural female British champion.

Almost a year to the day, she will have the opportunity to stamp her name in the history books once again as she bids to become the first Welsh woman to win a world title in the paid ranks.

Her opponent, the reigning and defending WBA welterweight champion, McCaskill, has fought a who-who of boxing greats including Katie Taylor, Chantelle Cameron and Cecilia Braekhus.

This will undoubtedly be Price’s toughest test as a pro but it is one she is relishing.

“It’s an exciting fight. I’m really excited about it because it’s not as if I’m fighting for a vacant title, I’m fighting against a legitimate champion who’s been there and done, I’ve got complete respect for her.

“Obviously turning over as an Olympic gold medalist, you’re expected to move fast. If you look at Katie Taylor’s career, and what she’s done for the sport.

I want to do the same really, where she has put Ireland on the map, I want to do the same for Wales.

“We’re a small nation, but we’re a very proud country, we support our own. And I want to bring big nights back to Cardiff.

“I want to make a legacy and I want to build on it. I don’t just want to win a World Title and that’s it. I want to become a multi-weight world champion. But first, obviously, my main focus is May 11 I’ve got to get through that.”

Lauren Price MBE challenges Jessica McCaskill for the Unified WBA, IBO, and Ring Magazine World Titles on Saturday 11th May, live from the Utilita Arena, Cardiff. Tickets are available now fromĀ www.boxxer.com

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