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Azad Championship Report: Thompson shocks Price in Liverpool

By Danny Winterbottom, Ringside

They said it would be over in double quick time and that a right hand would finish the job.  But nobody expected the recipient to be local favourite David Price who crashed to a shocking second round defeat at the hands of American veteran Tony Thompson inside a stunned Echo Arena in Liverpool.  

Price (17st 9lbs) had smashed his way to the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles scoring 13 inside the distance wins on his way to building a 15-0 record and Thompson, a 41-year-old native of Washington D.C who had shared a ring twice with Wladimir Klitschko, was seen as a gatekeeper to the world stage for the likeable 29-year-old Scouser.  But this is heavyweight boxing and anything can happen.  

Thompson (18st 10lbs) was odds on favourite to be reduced to rubble by the booming right of Price, the one that had so brutally detached Audley Harrison from his senses in this very same ring in October, but the crafty veteran was careful to stay out of harm’s way during the opening session.

Price pawed with his long jab but it was midway through the round before his trademark right found its target.  Thompson smiled, pulled a face, and then got back to work as he landed a sneaky counter left as Price came in.  

Thompson was proving difficult to catch clean as he lunged backwards at the waist whenever Price threatened with the right and was willing to take shots to the body in order to protect his chin.  As the pair exchanged punches in round two Price missed with an uppercut and Thompson clipped him with a counter right hand that landed directly onto the ear of Price (later revealed to have perforated his ear drum) sending him tumbling to the canvas.   

Grimacing in pain Price struggled to beat the count of referee Steve Gray, somehow managing to haul his 6ft 8ins frame off the deck, but his legs did a silly dance and the Fleetwood official took one look at him and waved it off.  The Arena fell into an eerie silence as Thompson celebrated wildly with his team screaming at the press row “I told you he would fall for the tricks, I told you!”  

“David got caught on the ear and his ear was perforated.  His balance was gone” said a sombre Frank Maloney at the post fight press conference.  

“It was a freak knockout.  No fighter wants to lose like that in front of their home crowd but I think he has (Price) the strength of character to come back.  I think he can still be world champion, this is just a blip like when Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall.”  

Price, who entered the press conference several minutes later after undergoing blood tests, was obviously feeling down on his luck.  

“It hasn’t sunk in yet-but that’s heavyweight boxing for you” he said as he sipped from a bottle of water.  

“He was looking for the counters and I dropped my left hand after missing with an uppercut.  He caught me but it isn’t the end of the world.”  

“My spirit is broken a little bit but I didn’t take a beating and in two or three fights time it will be history.  I’ve got to accept what has happened and move on.”  

Maloney revealed the contracts contained a rematch clause but was unable to confirm or deny if that option would be exercised by team Price at this stage.

  “I will sit down with David and Franny to discuss what to do next, but yes a rematch is possible” he said. 


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