Everybody is underestimating the threat of Sam Sexton before a punch is even thrown — apart from the one man who counts.
Undefeated heavyweight contender David Price is taking nothing for granted ahead of his bid to win the vacant British and Commonwealth titles at the Aintree Equestrian Centre in Liverpool, England, on Saturday.
In fact, a seriously focused 6-foot-8 Price even dismisses the idea that fighting in his own Merseyside backyard gives him any edge over countryman Sexton, from Norwich, Norfolk.
“I don’t think it will affect Sam coming into the lion’s den, so to speak. He’s done it before and he’ll probably do it again,” said Price, who has won 12 on the spin and last time out needed 73 seconds to destroy John McDermott for the English title. “It won’t have any bearing on the outcome. Wherever we fight, the result will be the same.
“It’s not going to be easy, which is why I’ve prepared so well for the fight. Whatever happens on the night, happens. But I’m 100 percent certain that I’ll be walking out of there with both belts.”
If successful, Price, who really wants a domestic grudge showdown with unbeaten rival Tyson Fury, becomes Liverpool’s inaugural British heavyweight titleholder. The proud 28-year-old scouser is in no mood to blow the opportunity.
“This is the first boxing show at this venue — which is already known around the world of sport — and I could potentially be this great fighting city’s first-ever British heavyweight champion. That’s a massive motivation for me,” said Price, a bronze medallist at the 2008 Olympics.
“This is what I’m in the sport for. For big nights like this. This career doesn’t last that long and you need to savour every moment of it. That’s what I’m doing this week.”
Sounds ominous but Sexton (15-2, 6 knockouts) is unconcerned. He knows Price well and counts him as a good friend. They boxed together as amateurs. However, the former Commonwealth champion is adamant all sentiment has been put to one side.
“We used to go on trips together, we used to have a good laugh together. We’re mates. David is a top bloke. But this is business now. We can be friends afterwards but, until then, he’s my enemy,” said 27-year-old Sexton, whose two defeats came against Dereck Chisora.
“I can’t wait to perform and David is in for a surprise on Saturday. I want the British and Commonwealth titles. I had the Commonwealth, I want it back — and I want that British belt. “
As for the pundits so quick to write him off, Sexton could not care less, suggesting it is par for the course when you come from a relatively remote region in the east of England.
“We’re known as the tractor boys down here,” he said. “Nobody is interested in sportsmen from here. But so what? That won’t matter at the weekend. Just like the crowd won’t. It’s just me and him in the ring. No one else.”
Photo / Getty Images Sport