David Price believes his work with a sports psychologist can help propel him back into the mix for heavyweight glory.
Original opponent, Konstantin Airich, failed a medical and has now been withdrawn. The Liverpudlian former British heavyweight champion will now take on Hungarian Istvan Ruszinski (12-9-1) at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart, on Saturday night live on BoxNation. Ruszinski was set to feature on the German undercard anyway against to box a four rounder on the undercard against Sweden’s Otto Wallin, but will now take on Price who is on the comeback trail.
The two devastating KO defeats to American Tony Thompson last year came at a time when Price’s name was being touted as one of the genuine contenders to take over the throne of the dominant Klitschko brothers.
So crushing were the defeats for the British heavyweight that many speculated they could well have signalled the end for the rising pugilist.
Yet, Price is out to prove he is made of sterner stuff and believes the assistance of sports psychologist Terry McElhinny will help him bounce back big in 2014.
“I’ve now started working with a mind coach, a sports psychologist type of person not long after the second Tony Thompson fight,” said Price.
“Primarily, he helped pick me up off the floor and helped me lift myself up. Beyond that, we’ve been doing a lot of other stuff, which I wish I had known and I wish I had been taking seriously from my amateur days because it really helps your performance,” he said.
“I was of the opinion that you only needed a sports psychologist if you weren’t mentally strong but everyone could benefit from using that type of thing and it’s definitely working for me,” Price stated.
The 30-year-old Olympic bronze medallist fights in Stuttgart, Germany on the undercard of the WBO world title cruiserweight clash between Marco Huck and Firat Arslan.
He may not be headlining the show, as he has done in the past, but that is something which he openly welcomes.
“I’ve been working hard on getting the mental side of things right and the whole situation for this next fight is different. I want to be fighting on an event where I’m not the main event and it’s not my hometown, although I do love fighting in Liverpool. It’s just a little bit less of an occasion this Saturday,” he said.
“The fight is still as important as any other fight, if not more important. I’m just looking forward to getting into the ring and exchanging punches again with another fighter, with them 10 ounce gloves on, and getting my arm raised again at the end of the fight because it feels like forever since I’ve won a fight,” Price said.
A lot of changes have taken place in the former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion’s camp since his last outing.
Long time manager Frank Maloney retired; there has been a change in promoters with Price teaming up with Sauerland Promotion, and a change in trainer with Adam Booth coming in for a short period before being replaced with respected trainer Tommy Brooks.
Price is sure, however, the drastic changes will be rewarding as he looks to put the past behind him and cement his place at the top of the heavyweight division, starting this weekend.
“I’m not doing this half-heartedly. I’m not like dipping my toe back in and saying ‘let’s see how it goes’ – I’m doing it properly. I’ve got a top trainer on the team. I’ve got a top promotional outfit dealing with me. I’m not doing it by halves, I’m doing it properly because I’ve got every faith that I can still achieve what I’ve set out to achieve in the first place,” said Price.
“Last year was a right off and that’s gone and now it’s about looking forward and building. After Saturday night a lot of things will feel a lot different for me. They already do anyway because I’m really calm and relaxed about Saturday and am looking to performing and showing people that there is a lot of talent there.
“The last two performances, they don’t reflect me as a fighter and that’s what I’m hoping to show on Saturday night,” he said.