Lauren Price is drawing inspiration from the great Joe Calzaghe as she prepares to challenge Jessica McCaskill for the WBA welterweight title.

The 29 year old on Saturday fights McCaskill at the Cardiff International Arena in Wales on the occasion of her first world-title fight, and the seventh fight of her professional career.

She was a teenager when Calzaghe retired in 2008 as perhaps Britain’s finest ever fighter after victories over Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr that enhanced his legacy, and she is even hoping that he will be present in the Welsh capital to watch what could prove her defining fight. 

“He’s probably the greatest ever to come out of Wales – the UK – you’ve seen what he done,” Price said. 

“Especially his fights, going over to America and winning there and what he’s done, and it’s mad – he only lives two miles from me in Newbridge, so it’s quite close.

“I know Joe quite well. His son Joe Calzaghe, I played football with him on a Sunday, in the valleys at Fleur de Lys boys and girls’ club. Senior Joe would come there with his hat on and umbrella, and kind of hide from everyone; his son used to play football; I know Joe quite well. Every Sunday I’d see him.

“Looking back, as a kid growing up and watching him fight, he’s a Welsh legend, so for me to be put in that bracket – become the 14th world champion and be alongside him and follow in his footsteps, that’s pretty insane, because he’s one of the greatest ever.

“The [in 2006, Jeff] Lacy fight. Him, and the relationship he had with Enzo his dad – and just the way he boxed. Unique style. Wherever he went he just didn’t give a s***, really, and his father used to make him skip for hours; running; everything. He trained with Enzo Maccarinelli at the Newbridge Gym. He was someone who inspired me and I looked up to for what he’s done for boxing.

“Last time I see him was at the Welsh Sports Awards, and he said to me, ‘All the best’ – this is before I went to the Olympics. That he admired me for what I’ve done for Welsh boxing; my skill; my talent. I’m hoping he’ll be there on fight night; on fight week, so I can have a little word with him then.

“Up in the valleys I know he’s well known and well liked, but he should be your Cristiano Ronaldo-kind of person, for me, from a boxing point of view. It’d great to see him getting more involved with the pro side of things, because he’s one of the best who’s ever done it.”

Price – America’s experienced McCaskill is 10 years his senior – is trained by Rob McCracken, once the trainer of Carl Froch, who as an active fighter had been so keen to fight Calzaghe.

“I don’t think [Calzaghe] gets enough credit for what he’s done, really,” she continued. “He’s low key, and he’s the greatest, probably, to come out of Britain. I know Rob McCracken, my coach – he rates him very high. Obviously he had [Carl] Froch – I like Froch; I think he’s great as well – but the timing, it wasn’t right. Rob has a lot of respect for Joe; he even says he doesn’t get enough credit for what he was and he says he was a great, great fighter.

“He said to me Froch was up-and-coming; Joe was towards the back end of his career, so it didn’t really make sense. I suppose they were on different journeys at that point. But, great fighter.”

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