By Dewi Powell: Fresh from a second round knockout victory over former European champion Ted Bami, Bradley Pryce, 30(18)-8(4)-0, is getting used to life back at his natural fighting weight of 10 stone 7lbs.
The Newbridge fighter’s decision to move down a division has been just one of many recent changes. Pryce has changed trainers from Enzo Calzaghe, who he’d been with since his youth, to former stablemate Gary Lockett - and the Welsh fighter feels better for it.
“Obviously Gary is a completely different trainer to Enzo and things were going a bit stale with the Calzaghe’s,” said Pryce. “I didn’t feel the training was being done for a long time and it was just about getting a new trainer. (I) Come down and worked with Gary for a bit, liked what I seen and he got me in the best condition of my life in my last fight. He’s a different trainer to Enzo and it suits me a lot better than it did with Enzo.”
Despite admitting that he fought outside his natural weight, ‘Sweet Sugar’ takes pride in his time at junior-middleweight which saw him amass a record of nine wins and two losses.
“I won the Commonwealth title, if I didn’t win that I would of come back to welterweight,” insists Pryce. “Obviously I won the title and remained at that weight until I lost the title. And that was five years, so I had five years out of my weight division but good experience overall”.
The losses only came against Prince Aaron in the Prizefighter tournament where he was unable to adapt to a three round format and Matthew Hall where size was a clear factor, without taking anything away from Hall.
The height of Pryce’s time at junior-middleweight came with a seventh round stoppage win against Anthony Small. When Small was later British and Commonwealth champion a rematch with Pryce, who at the time was Small’s only defeat, would of made sense.
“When he (Anthony Small) was champion I would of liked to fight him and take the title off him but like I said its not my weight division”, said Pryce. “I’m back at my natural weight now, welterweight, so obviously that’s a fight that wouldn’t happen ever again”.
The re-match would most likely have happened had both Pryce and Small remained with promoter Frank Warren. However, Pryce parted with Warren following the court case between Warren and Joe Calzaghe and has since clarified that he’s a free agent.
“I never actually signed with Calzaghe promotions, it was just I boxed on one of their shows, the next show then we had a disagreement over my money so decided not to box for them on the second promotion. And obviously then I moved away from Enzo’s altogether to try to rebuild on my career” explained Pryce.
Pryce elaborated on to his current situation, “I have no contract whatsoever with a promoter. I know Gary (Locket) likes working with Matchroom, I boxed with them last fight, enjoyed working with them. And that’s the way it’s going at the moment, if they offer me a fight, I’ll fight. So yeah at the moment I’m with them but fight by fight.”
With Matthew Hatton set for the WBA welterweight title sooner or later, Kell Brook and Michael Jennings set for September 18th and John O’Donnell in October a number of the UK’s top welterweights are tied up.
And admittedly Pryce remains realistic about the opportunities that will arise and looks to earn the shots in an honest manner.
“I just gotta hope to work my way in, get win after win and hopefully the board will put me through to mandatory challenger for the British and whoever the champion at the time I get to fight. But to be honest I’m not worried about any of them so whoever is champion at the time I look forward to taking the title.”
Despite that, Pryce is now positive where his future lay and makes no secret of what he wants to achieve and where he wants to be within the next year.
“I hope to be British champion by next year, or any of the other titles. This time next year I want to have had three or four fights, all wins, and looking for bigger titles. I just want the British title to be a start to bigger things”.
Now aged 29 with 38 fights under his belt, Pryce has become a fairly young domestic veteran. Therefore, there’ll be no rush for Pryce to achieve his aims but now the change of trainer to Gary Lockett has certainly given Pryce the best physical condition of his life which should surely bring the best out of ‘Sweet Sugar’s’ talent for the fight game.