Leeds boxer Hope Price eyeing more glory in Youth Olympics

LEEDS teen Hope Price has mixed feelings about his recent World Youth Championships raid.

Saturday, 15th September 2018, 7:00 am
Hope Price pictured at Hunslet Club.
Hope Price pictured at Hunslet Club.

The Hunslet Club teen was proud of his flyweight silver – but adamant he should have been awarded gold.

Yet one month later the prospect of an even bigger medal beckons with Price eyeing glory at the 2018 Youth Olympics as the perfect come-and-get-me call ahead of the Olympic Games proper in two years’ time.

Price has just returned from the World Youth Championships in Hungary where the double European champion eventually fell to a rare defeat with the USA’s Asa Stevens awarded victory by judges’ decision in the 52kg flyweight final.

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Hope Price. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The 18-year-old Leeds fighter felt the judges made the wrong call but just one month after being controversially denied in Hungary, Price is now confident of setting the record straight at an even bigger tournament held next month in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

The teen is the only athlete from Leeds amongst a British contingent of 42 heading for the Youth Olympic Games in which the boxer admits a strong performance would seriously boost his hopes of boarding the plane to the biggest event of all at Tokyo 2020. Better still, Price’s conqueror at the recent World Youths will not be competing – not that Price would have any hesitation in taking on his World Youths conqueror again.

Price told the YEP: “World silver medal – obviously it’s a big achievement. But I was a bit upset because everyone including myself thought I had won the fight. I should have been world champion.

“The lad who beat me, I thought I was going to fight him in the Olympics but he never qualified for those because the Brazilian I beat in the semi-finals beat him in the qualifiers.

“Olympic champion is better than the world champion isn’t it? And 100 per cent I think I can win the gold at the Youth Olympics, especially from how I performed in the worlds. I am no 1 in the world in my eyes and a couple of the boys competing in the Olympics I beat in the Youth World Championships.

“I think there are six boys who have qualified for the Youth Olympics so it’s three fights for a gold medal and I am very confident and they also do a no 1 and a no 2 seed. Hopefully I get the no 1 seed and I probably will because I won silver in the Worlds and gold in the Europeans and the other top boy is the Brazilian who I beat in the semi-finals of the worlds.”

Price will board the plane to Argentina with the rest of the GB squad on October 2 with competition not beginning until October 14. The home-schooled boxer’s dad will then fly out to watch his eldest son at a time when Price’s younger brother Ellis is competing in the European Junior Championships in Russia at the same time.

Hope was one fight or decision away from being crowned World Youths champion in Hungary and said of the event: “It was good and a different experience from the Europeans. The tournament was a lot longer, it was over two weeks but the set up compared to the Europeans was a lot better. There were loads of cameras, you had to do more interviews, there were more people there and it just seemed a bigger occasion really and I like boxing on that sort of stage. For me, the bigger the better.”

Both brothers ultimately have their eyes on the biggest stage of all and Hope insists he is definitely ready to be picked for Tokyo 2020.

Next month’s Youth Olympics in Argentina will ultimately present Price’s final competition as a Youth boxer – with the teen confident of going out with a bang and already relishing the prospect of boxing open age.

“I think I am ready for it,” said Price, asked about the lure of Tokyo 2020.

“Ever since I was young, I have done every international competition. I have been to the Europeans numerous times and I have been to the Worlds and now I am going to the Youth Olympics. I will probably be the only boy who has got a medal at every international tournament that they have been to and I have never once been and not got a medal. I couldn’t have done much more. There has never been someone from Great Britain win a Youth Olympics gold medal in boxing so I’m looking to be the first.

“This is my last competition at youth and I am prepared for it. Then the head guards come off after Christmas when I turn elite and hopefully I can do well and try and win these Olympics and then it should catapult me so I can try to get to Tokyo.

“After the Youth Olympics, even though I am boxing for Great Britain in the Youth Olympics, I will hopefully get a trial for the GB squad up at Sheffield. Then it’s up to them who goes for what tournaments next year to qualify for Tokyo. “It’s all about how fast they let me move.”