Pryce open to Smith opportunity

Bradley ‘Sugar Sweet’ Pryce’s (35-16, 19KO) team are putting his name forward to challenge British light-middleweight champion Liam Smith (16-0-1, 6KO) following the withdrawal of the Scouser’s next opponent. Rotherham’s Nav Mansouri was due to face Smith on Frank Warren’s ‘The Fight For The Right’ show at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester on July 26th. However, a back injury has forced the Yorkshireman to cancel and the search for a new opponent has started. There are less than four weeks until fight night but Pryce, who has not fought since stopping Raimonds Sneidze in two rounds in March, is willing to step up to the mark and win a British title at the third time of asking, having lost to welterweight champions Neil Sinclair and Michael Jennings in 2003 and 2005, respectively. Jamie Arthur, who trains and manages Pryce, said, “We saw that Liam Smith was looking for an opponent and our eyes lit up. If they can’t get anyone to fight him, Bradley’s always there to step up to the plate and he’d relish the chance to fight for the British title. “I would love Bradley to get the opportunity. Since his last win, it’s been really hard to get him matched, he’s had four fights pull out on him. It’s been really disappointing and we know we haven’t got long left, so we want to get the best opportunity for Bradley. “Winning the British title would finish off his career. It is the best title in boxing, it’s late in his career and he hasn’t got long left but all we’d like is the opportunity to fight for it. He would grasp it with both hands, that would be the pinnacle of his boxing career.” Smith has also suffered inactivity. Since out-pointing Eric Ochieng for the vacant title in September, injuries have meant that the 25-year-old has only defended his title once, a fourth round stoppage over Mark Thompson in December. The Scouser is on an 11 fight winning streak and he’s impressed Arthur. Arthur said, “Liam Smith is a brilliant fighter. All of the family (champion brothers Paul, Stephen and Callum) are amazing and they’ve got a brilliant trainer behind them in Joe Gallagher. They read fights very well and anyone at British level is a tough ask but Bradley Pryce can give anyone a good fight. If that person isn’t up to scratch then Bradley can take the win.” The 33-year-old Welshman, who is now trained at Arthur’s Gym in Rhydyfelin, has been forced to take many fights at late notice, most notably against Sergey Rabchenko and Frankie Gavin who are both world rated but his team insist that four weeks notice would be more than enough to face Smith on July 26th. Arthur said, “Bradley’s always come in at the last minute. Given notice, we could get him down to welterweight but we’d need time for that. So, if it’s four weeks time then it’s no problem to do light-middleweight. Brad would be strong and fit for it. “At the end of the day, Bradley’s helped a lot of people out at the last minute. Why not be a bit fairer? He’s been a good servant to the sport , so lets give him the opportunity. All we want is a fair crack of the whip, Bradley deserves that more than anyone.” Pryce enjoyed his career best run in the light-middleweight division, racking up a total of six successful defences over three years but the Welshman’s form has dipped in the five years since then, winning just eight of 17 contests. On the same show, Pryce’s younger brother Darren is listed to face Michael Gomez Jnr and the Rhondda’s Liam Williams will step up in class to face fellow prospect Ronnie Heffron.

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