Olympics day 14: Price digs deep to each middleweight final
August 6, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny
GB Boxing’s Lauren Price fought back from the adversity of being deducted a point to beat familiar rival Noouchka Fontijn and reach the Tokyo 202 Olympic final at middleweight.
The Welsh number one seed was really up against it after dropping the opening round and then being penalised in the second for excessive holding.
It left her with it all to do going into the third and final round, but she produced her best work of the contest at that point and edged a 3-2 split decision – much to her obvious delight.
Ahead on one judges’ final scorecard and down on two, it went to countback, as two of the judges had the contest all square.
Both ruled that they had preferred the work of Price, enabling her to book a final bout with China’s Qian Li on Sunday at 2.45pm (6.45am UK time).
In the seventh meeting between the two boxers, Rio 2016 silver medalist Fontijn opened sharply before Price came back into the round towards the end of it, but the Dutch boxer edged it 3-2.
The southpaw’s task was made all the tougher in the second round after Cuban referee Wilfredo Vazquwz Calero followed up warnings by removing a point from Price’ total.
It meant that despite edging it 3-2, the Pontypool boxer was behind on four of the five judges’ scorecards at that point.
Price knew she needed an excellent final three minutes to turn things around – and that’s just what she produced, taking the round 4-1.
A nervous wait for the overall decision followed and, when it came, Price through her hands in the air as she kept her dream of Olympic gold alive.
“It’s pretty mad. I knew I was up against it today because we are the best two (boxers) in the world,” said a delighted Price.
“We’ve boxed each other a number of times and know each other inside out, so it was going to be whoever was better on the day.
“I started a little bit slowly, but that’s where your experience comes into it, as well as listening to my corner.
“I went out in the second and third round to win the bout and I’m over the moon that I got the win.
“With the height difference, getting a point deducted can often happen to me, so I didn’t really think about it too much. I just knew I needed to pick it up and needed a big last round.
“It’s everyone’s dream to get to an Olympic final and I’m going to do my utmost to bring back that gold.”
Tomorrow, GB’s Galal Yafai will get his own shot at Olympic glory as he takes on Carlo Paalam of the Philippines in the flyweight final at 2pm (6am UK time).