Lauren Price was saved. Since she was just a three-day-old baby, her grandparents took her in and took care of her themselves. She knows they changed the course of her life.
Price was a preternaturally successful sportswoman. She was a world kickboxing champion in her youth, and played football for Cardiff and Wales. Her talent was discovered by the British Taekwondo program before joining the Welsh boxing programmes, and then the British Olympic boxing programmes.
As an amateur boxer, she won everything possible – Commonwealth, European, World and, of course, Olympic gold medals. As a professional fighter, she is rising quickly. She has already won her first ever British Women’s Professional Championship and is on track to capture a world title next year.
All of these achievements, including being awarded an OBE by King Charles, are the results of countless hours and year after year of hard and painstaking work. It’s not easy. Few in sports have similar accomplishments.
But as difficult as it is, Price knows that without her grandparents, her life would have been much more difficult.
“I just think how lucky I was to be saved like that,” she said. Sky Sports.
Her older brother, who died tragically shortly before Price’s last boxing competition, lived a life that might have been her own.
He was only 38 years old when he died. She said: “He got into trouble when he was 21 years old. He went to prison and then never came out of it, because life in prison was better for him than staying at home. So he went to an institution.”
He passed away with only a little over two weeks left before he was due to leave. “He moved out to live with my sister and changed his life and became a completely different person,” Price said.
“The people who looked after him sent me a message that just said: ‘Watching you changed his life, you inspired him that there are better things out there.’”
“My sister was very close to him growing up,” she explained. “He moved out to live with her, and it turned his life around. Everyone I spoke to, they said he was a lovely boy.”
In her final match, Price was surrounded by the nickname “The Lucky One” on her kit. It’s a tribute to her family and what her grandparents did for her.
At her brother’s funeral she decided to call herself a fighter.
“I was the lucky one,” she realized. “I was truly saved.”
“I was the youngest, so I lived with my grandmother since I was three days old. For me, I look at it like I had a lucky escape. So I was lucky that I was the one who was saved and they weren’t.” “I’m not going to have a great life,” Price said.
“They are two amazing people who took me in when I was three days old, gave me a life, always told me to believe in my dreams, and have spent thousands over the years to get me kickboxing and playing football.
“My dream was to go to the Olympics. They always supported me. That’s how I look at it, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be in this position and have achieved anything. Unfortunately obviously my grandfather isn’t here anymore.” Obviously my grandmother still supports me, it was something close to my heart.
“I feel like that’s a big part of me, of what I achieved at the Olympics, and how I got there, and even now, even from a little girl watching Kelly Holmes on TV, sitting in the living room with them, who inspired me,” she continued.
“My grandmother always told me: ‘Reach for the moon, and if I mess up I’ll land on the stars,’ and she always encouraged me.
“I just thought, especially with my brother’s death and the life he lived, it was just a crazy situation and heartbreak that I look back on and just think how lucky I was.”
Having suffered such bereavement, Price is still stuck on the bill for Liam Smith’s clash with Chris Eubank Jr in Manchester at the start of this month.
Not only did she compete at welterweight but she faced Lolita Muzia, who had an 18-1 record and was a former middleweight world title contender.
“I think a lot of people wouldn’t have taken the fight. People had less opposition on paper for world titles. I knew it was just a handful,” Price said. “I will corner anyone.”
Price outboxed Muzeya, and after shaking her opponent down, she made a technical decision to win once Muzeya had a bad score.
“It was big,” Price said. “She was attacking me. She was trying to connect with her back hand. I knew every time she threw it, it was going down. I know the ref warned her twice about her head.”
She was hurting Muzeya before the match was stopped. “As she leaned over, I tackled her,” Price said. “I hit it with one hook and I could see it sinking and moving backwards.”
This match is just a sign of the Olympic champion’s ambition. She would like to fight for a world title soon, preferably before the end of the year.
Another Briton, Natasha Jonas, the world bantamweight champion in Liverpool, holds the International Boxing Federation title at 147 pounds. This is who Price is targeting.
“I would love that fight. I think I’m in my prime right now and in my prime. I feel like I’m going to win that fight. I’m going to back myself,” she said. “I respect Tash, but obviously there comes a point where someone gets a world title shot, and that’s what I’m in the game for.”
There are other potential competitors. American Mikaela Mayer moves up to welterweight and is also targeting Jonas.
“I think this is a 50-50 fight, it’s an interesting fight. Watching Mayer [against Silvia Bortot]Obviously, she’s got a high work rate, and a good range of punches. But then Tasha has a good backhand, finishes her hook, and is a little stronger too I think as well. It’s an interesting battle.
“I honestly don’t know [who wins]. Mayer has never fought at 147 pounds. this is the question. Can she pull it up to that weight, and obviously Tasha is a powerhouse southpaw as well, so I think it’s a very good fight.
“I obviously want Tasha to win but I think it’s a very good fight as well.”
However, Price is confident that her chance will come sooner or later. “When I turned around [professional] “My goal, and obviously my dream, is to win world titles,” she said.
“Whoever holds the belts at the time, I’ll want to fight and that’s what it is.
“As long as I win in the ring and look good, their fights will come.”