Alan Dawson – London
The titles in David Price‘s trophy cabinet trebled in size on Saturday, May 19 as the extraordinarily-sized heavyweight from Liverpool, who can brag inescapable and concussive power, knocked out durable operator Sam Sexton at the Aintree Equestrian Centre. Price boxed with patience, gradually picking apart the former champion of the Commonwealth with a variety of punches before knocking Sexton down once in the third round and twice in the fourth.
Official verdict: Price by way of fourth round KO.
“It sounds great [to be British champion],” said Price, who picked up the English title with his first round knockout victory over John McDermott earlier in the year and has now added the vacant British strap and Sexton’s Commonwealth belt to his waist. “This was the first target – done. Now we can move forward.
“I felt like I boxed the perfect fight, I don’t think Sexton laid a glove on me. I knew he’d be tidy defensively but once I got through I knew I was penetrating him. I’m glad that [the fight] went a bit longer so people could see variation in my work. Sam Sexton is no mug, I don’t even think he’s been put over,” the new champ stated to Sky Sports One, before adding: “To put out a statement like that, I need to move forward again.”
While Price finished the show with dogmatic fists, he began it cautiously, assessing Sexton primarily with his jab. In round one, Price sought to close the gap on Sexton instantaneously in order to find range. Once completed, he attached powerful right hands to his orthodox lead punch.
Price varied the jab… he’d extend the arm to prevent Sexton from firing, throw a half-jab to find range and, when he landed cleanly with a full jab it was so forceful it almost had the same effect as a power shot. Famed for his headhunting prowess, Price showed a different aspect of his repertoire in the opening brace of rounds by probing away at Sexton’s midsection and tucking hook punches to either side of the Norwich native’s ribs.
Sexton’s style was largely cagey… he maintained a high guard and, whilst it provided a cushion against incoming head-bound shots, it left him vulnerable to the body blows. Sexton relinquished the centre of the ring to Price and was content to step to the side. With two rounds gone, Sexton’s game-plan had yet to rise to the fore as Price was dominant throughout courtesy of a controlled and cerebral approach.
Sexton responded well in the third round of the fight, throwing a four punch combination at the start of the second minute of the stanza, but these shots were mostly arm punches as Price’s well-placed guard thwarted the attack. In past fights, Price’s most useful combination was a two punch flurry – the jab and straight right hand into the face – and this move did score well for the home fighter but it was a cuffing right hand that dropped Sexton moments before the end of combat in the third.
Price enhanced the snap behind his shots in round four, throwing with more regularity and canvassing Sexton a second time with a chin-bound tiger uppercut. Technically, Sexton didn’t touch down on the deck but he propped himself up on the ropes, thereby forcing the referee to administer a count.
There was no respite for the visiting pug, who beat his mitts together when he returned to his feet and had to bite down on his mouth-piece as Price bombarded him with precise punches from wide. Towards the end of the round, Price secured an emphatic finish by knocking Sexton down and out with a hook.
The final punch was set-up by dual hook punches, one either side of the body, before finally sending a right to the jaw, separating Sam from his senses and rocking his head when it slammed into the canvas.
“What we saw tonight was a perfect performance,” commented promoter Frank Maloney. “That’s the best jab I’ve seen in a British ring since Lennox Lewis. The patience was unbelievable. We’ve now got someone who I believe will bring the world heavyweight title back to Britain, but he’s still learning. He ticks ten out of ten. He’s a credit to the sport of boxing.”
Added Price, who now moves to 13-0-0, 11ko: “I believe my destiny is to be world heavyweight champion. I’m going to keep working hard, I’m not the finishing article yet but I will get there.”