sport

Price embraces nasty streak

Nice guy David Price is happy to keep nurturing his nasty streak as he builds his growing heavyweight reputation.

The genial Liverpudlian's stock has continued to rise in 2012 with a series of brutal wins brought about by his devastating punching power.

Price, 29, hopes to finish a successful year in style when he defends his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles against tough veteran Matt Skelton at Aintree on Friday.

After destroying other British rivals such as Tom Dallas, John McDermott, Sam Sexton and Audley Harrison in brutal style, the pressure is on for Price to repeat such ferocity.

And the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist admits even he has been taken aback by his explosive power.

"I've surprised myself with my progress at times," said Price. "I've expected the fights to be a bit more difficult.

"It's the punch power which surprises me because in training I know I can punch, but it's when I put the 10oz gloves on, get in the ring and start punching then that it produces results which I didn't think were possible.

"I have got that nastiness in there. It's something that people always thought I never had. I've heard a lot of people say to me 'you're too nice'.

"But being nice is one thing and being soft is another and I'm not soft."

Price added: "I might be a nice person but when I'm in that ring a completely different persona comes out. It's heavyweight boxing, at the end of the day.

"If I don't finish the job it can give them an opportunity to take me out. It only takes one punch. So I want to get them out of there as quickly as possible and when I hit someone, I make sure they stay hit.

"That's what boxing is about. It's the noble art. For all the trash talking involved in boxing - which there is a place for, because people get excited about it, but it's not for me - there's always room for gentlemanly conduct as well.

"I just be myself and be normal and it comes across well to the fans as someone they can relate to.

"There's also a market for the trash talk as well, so it creates a nice balance."

After such progress this year, the selection of Skelton (28-6) as challenger has drawn criticism from some quarters.

But while the 45-year-old Bedford brawler's age has unsurprisingly raised eyebrows, the former kickboxing champion arguably poses more of a threat than the timid Harrison managed last time out.

"Matt Skelton's a fighter a lot of fighters would prefer to avoid because he's a tough opponent who can make guys look bad," said Price (14-0, 12KOs).

"He's fit, he's durable and he's a fighter. I think it's a significant fight for me.

"I haven't been getting many rounds under my belt and I think Skelton will be able to take my punches. If he doesn't then he doesn't and it's a confidence boost for me and if he does, then it's good rounds in the bank for me."