Lauren Price beats her great rival Nouchka Fontijn on the finest of margins to reach the middleweight final at the Olympic Games

LAUREN PRICE is many things. She’s quick, she’s clever, she’s a European and World champion. She also has character.

She showed that in her Olympic semi-final against Nouchka Fontijn at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo on Friday (August 6).

In a three round contest, a point deduction can be a near-impossible deficit to overturn. It looked that way for Price, who had lost the first round and then had a point taken off for holding. That might have been a touch harsh, although the referee had warned her a couple of times previously. But to outside observers it appeared to confine Price to defeat in the middleweight semi-final.

Not to Lauren and her corner though.

Fontijn, taller and composed in the first round, had waited for Price to step in, launching counters as the Welsh southpaw attacked. The two great rivals know each other’s style inside out – this bout was their seventh meeting. But Price steadied herself, took the second-round point loss in her stride and came out for the third unfazed and looking to win. She boxed her best round in the final stanza, quickening up her footwork, sliding in to land clean work, hitting the strong Dutchwoman with her left cross.

At the finish one judge had her ahead, two had the boxers level at 28-28 with the point off. It meant they had choose whose work overall they preferred. Both selected Price. It meant Lauren won the only way she could, by a split decision on the finest of margins. It was an incredible comeback to book a place in the Olympic final.

“You don’t really get harder than that today,” Price said afterwards. “I started a little bit slow but I suppose that’s where your experience comes into it.

“It’s everyone’s dream to get to that Olympic final and I’m going to do my best to bring back gold.”

On Sunday (August 8) China’s Qian Li in the Olympic middleweight final at about 6.45am UK time.



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