Boxing

The new boxing ‘superstar’ who played international soccer and juggled training with driving taxis

The new boxing ‘superstar’ who played international soccer and juggled training with driving taxis

When Lauren Price was eight years old, she wrote down three goals for herself – to become a kickboxing world champion, play international soccer for Wales and compete at an Olympic Games.

For most people, growing up involves making choices, giving up on multiple dreams to concentrate all their energies on a single one, in the hope that perhaps just one, if they are lucky, can be realized.

But Lauren Price never had to make that decision. At 12, she was a world kickboxing champion, a title she won another three times.

Before she turned 18, she had already played soccer for Wales twice at senior level and another 50 times at under-16, under-17 and under-19 levels, where she captained her team. Soccer and kickboxing were ticked off the list.

Then, watching female boxers fight in an Olympic ring for the first time at London 2012 inspired yet another goal for Price, and she took up the sport shortly afterwards, leaving soccer to focus on it.

That was the sport that took her to the Olympic Games where, remarkably, she won a gold medal at Tokyo 2020 in the female middleweight division.

Lauren Price was a talented soccer player as well. – Matt Lewis/The FA Collection/Getty Images

And, on Saturday, she completed yet another milestone when she became Wales’ first female world champion boxer as she defeated Jessica McCaskill by a unanimous technical decision after the fight in Cardiff, Wales was stopped early on medical advice to treat McCaskill’s injured, swollen eye.

“This is just the start,” Price, now the WBA, IBO and Ring Magazine welterweight champion, told broadcaster Sky Sports afterwards. “I want to build a legacy and create greatness … You see what Katie Taylor did for Ireland, I want to do the same for Wales.”

But, despite the seemingly seamless realization of all her childhood dreams, Price had to fight hard for them outside the ring as well as inside.

When she initially began boxing, Price juggled training with work as a teaching assistant, providing support to a girl with special educational needs, and later as a taxi driver for her grandparents’ company, driving people to and from Cardiff on Friday and Saturday nights.

Her grandparents, Linda and Derek, brought her up from the age of three days old.

They were the ones to first introduce Price to sport, initially as a way to provide an outlet for all her energy as a child, Linda told The National Lottery, which provides funding to British athletes, in 2021.

Lauren Price won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. – Buda Mendes/Getty Images

“They always supported me and told me to believe in my dreams. My nan used to say ‘reach for the moon, if you fall short you’ll land on the stars,’” Price told Sky Sports.

“Even now she got me a good luck card and I’ll read that before fight night, it’s just the little things.”

Price’s grandfather, Derek, passed away in November 2020, before he could watch her become an Olympic champion and turn into the new boxing “superstar,” as Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom said, per the BBC.

“I believe that if you work hard enough and you have got dreams, then you can achieve them,” Price told Sky Sports on Saturday before her world title fight.

“I was a kid once and I had three things … I managed to tick all three of them with the love and support of my grandparents.”

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