Dynamite Brit stops super-heavyweight favourite
Wednesday 13 August 2008
His team-mates call him Dynamite Dave and the British boxing team captain certainly lit the fuse of great expectations with an inspirational victory, unquestionably the most significant and dramatic of his career, a second round stoppage of the Olympic super-heavyweight Russian Islam Titmurziev - the gold medal favourite.
On his Olympic debut the giant Liverpudlian twice floored the European champion with chopping right hand punches, the second of which brought a swift intervention from the Chinese referee. "When I hit him, I could feel bone on bone," said Price.
It was a critical contest not only for Price, but the British team, whom as captain he knew he needed to lift after the Gavin fiasco and the early defeat of bantamweight Joe Murray. It also places him in the quarter finals, one fight away from a medal.
At 6ft 8in Price is the elder statesman of the British team and he entered the ring at the Workers' Gymnasium with much resting in his wide shoulders, not least the fact that a 10-strong part of family and friends are not flying in from Merseyside until the weekend.
"They always planned to get here for my second fight," he said. "Obviously they weren't expecting me to get such a tough draw for starters and had I lost they probably wouldn't have come. Now they've really got something to come out for."
Price had a big height advantage, as he usually does, over the Russian six-footer, also 25, himself a heavy-hitting powerhouse who stalks forward throwing punches.
Timurziev led by a single point at the end of a tentative first round, forcing Price on the back foot. But Price then unloaded his bombs, stunning the Russian who shook his head but protested only mildly as the fight was stopped after 31s second of the round.
"I couldn't believe the way it happened," said Price. "I was lucky the ref stopped so quickly it but one more punch would have done it anyway.
"I'm made up because the lads were gutted after little Joe (Murray) and this will have given them a lift. I also proved that these Russians are not unbeatable."
Coach Terry Edwards said he felt a happy sense of deja vu. "Audley Harrison fought a Russian in his first fight in Sydney, which proved to be his toughest test, and went on to win the gold. Maybe it is an omen.The thing about Dave is that his punching power is improving all the time. Now he's the real deal"
Price's next fight on Monday is against a Lithuanian, Jaraslav Jaksto, with whom he has an old score to settle.
"He's no mug. He beat me when I was just a kid so I owe him one."
After that it is the world champion, Roberto Cammarelle, the Italian policeman, who is most likely to be standing between him and the final. But in this explosive mood Dynamite Dave could be set to blow holes through the best of reputations.
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