Feature | Boxing

Lauren Price: "If I prepare properly, I feel I could beat anyone."

The world and European champion tells Olympic Channel about her mental training techniques, who her boxing heroes are, and what inspired her to compete at the Olympics.

By Andrew Binner ·

When the Boxing Road to Tokyo European Olympic Qualifier was called off in March due to coronavirus, no one was more frustrated then Lauren Price.

The Welsh boxer was in the form of her life, having claimed gold at the European Games and World Championships in 2020.

After the Tokyo 2020 qualifying tournament's postponement, Price continued to train but struggled to find motivation.

Now with the IOC Boxing Task Force announcing that the event would be completed in London in April, Price has rediscovered her full focus.

Check out our interview with the 26-year-old - seen by many as the heir to double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams to Britain's boxing throne - where she talks about mental training techniques, her Olympic heroes, and her journey from being a cabbie (taxi driver) and former Welsh international footballer.

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Olympic Channel: How excited are you that the tournament dates have been confirmed after what was no doubt a tough postponement?

Lauren Price: It was pretty tough mentally, coming off the back of becoming world champion and then going into the qualifier, I was buzzing. My confidence was flying. We had a multi-nation training camp and I was sparring really well. Fitness wise, I was probably in the best shape I've ever been in. So I was really really confident and looking forward to it. Then it got called off and I took my foot off the gas a little bit for like two weeks. As an athlete training three times a day, I was going insane.

I'm just really pleased seeing that the Olympics are back on and we've got a date in mind for the qualifiers beginning of next year.

OC: What part in your preparation preparations does sort of mental training play?

LP: I speak to a psychologist, and I do something called pressure training. When I've got a tournament coming up like I'll wear a heart rate monitor in sparring and I'll be put in situations or there will be a technical 'three-pointer'. They score me and afterwards I watch it back on the video and do analysis. We do a lot of pressure training and working with psychology.

OC: You're the reigning world champion and unbeaten for two years. Do you still get nervous?

LP: I do get nervous. If I go into a tournament and draw someone in the first round that was not really ranked well, I'll probably be more nervous for the fight than I am fighting in the final. Because as soon as I get the first bout out of the way, then I'm flying. I still get nerves but good nerves.

If I don't get nervous now I think there's something wrong. I don't really put myself under too much pressure. I know in my own head and heart, as long as I put 100 percent into training and I'm prepared the best I can be then, on the day, I feel like I could beat anyone. I suppose I just turn the nerves into confidence.

OC: After going so long unbeaten, how do you ensure you don't become overconfident and stay sharp?

LP: There's always things to work on. I'm not a negative person, but I always want to do better and I always want to perform. Sometimes when I win but I haven't performed right, I come back and I look over my fight and think, 'What could I have done better?' And go over it that way.

"I'm not a very big-headed person. I'm quite levelheaded and I just want to get better. I just I'm always looking to improve."

Representing Wales, Lauren Price won the Women's -75kg gold medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

OC: What do you do differently to other boxers?

LP: I think it's probably my speed and my footwork. A lot of the girls are a lot heavier than me and bigger than me. So I'm just a technical boxer. So I stick to my speed and my footwork and I'd say that's my main asset really.

OC: And if you think back to your days as a cabbie and everything you did in order to get yourself to become a full-time boxer, what would it mean to you to get to simply get to Tokyo, to get to the Olympics in box for Great Britain?

LP: Oh, it'd be a dream come true. It's been a dream of mine since I was eight years of age. I've always been sport mad and watching the Olympics back in the day, they inspired me massively. The likes of Kelly Holmes and people like that, seeing them win medals and even the Opening Ceremony and switching over on your channel every day and different sports being on. It's one of biggest sporting events in the world and, as a child, it took me by surprise massively. I was always driven and wanted to compete in the Olympics one day.

I started off doing kickboxing and I'd done everything I could have done there but obviously being an Olympic sport, I needed to change over to another sport - boxing. I'm not doing bad, I suppose! And so hopefully again in the summer, I've got one more to win.

OC: You've got an amazing sporting resume as a former world champion kickboxer and international footballer in addition to boxing. Are you an intense person away from sport too?

LP: I'm quite a laid back person. I'm really chilled. It's mad but... it's different, I suppose. As soon as that bell goes you're kind of in your own zone and you're switch on. The same obviously in a football match - I captained Wales Under-19s.

I've been in it all my life really, but for me I just kind of like to chill. So when I leave the gym, I don't really want to talk about boxing. I like to just chill out, watch Netflix, you know, the usual.

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OC: You've named Katie Taylor as one of your role models. How important is it for you to be a role model for the next generation of women in the sport?

LP: Katie Taylor inspired me massively and she still does. She's gone into the pro ranks and she's smashing that. For me, I go back to my old school and other schools to tell my story and sign gloves for the young kids to inspire them that way. It's quite a proud moment for me, but I always try and do my best. I like being a role model.

OC: Depending how you do in Tokyo, do you think you would find more pleasure in going pro after that or potentially defending an Olympic title?

LP: I've only ever looked up to Tokyo and not beyond that. But you look at the likes of Nicola Adams, Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields, they all did two cycles. So there's nothing stopping me doing another four years. But the pro game is obviously up and running now.

"I wouldn't turn pro now because I don't think it's big enough, maybe in a few years when it's going to be even bigger and better. But for me right now, the only thing I'm thinking about is Tokyo."

EXPLAINED: How boxers can qualify for Tokyo 2020

Find out details about the Olympic Boxing Qualification Tournaments, weight...

events

20 Feb 2020 - 8 Jun 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournaments

Dakar, Amman, London, Buenos Aires, Paris