By Jake Donovan
David Price continues to remain in the headlines as 2013 winds down. Less than 24 hours after the announcement of a new trainer comes news of his ring return.
The fallen British heavyweight is set to officially kick off the rebuilding tour. The first step is in the form a rescheduled bout with Russian mammoth Evgeny Orlov, which will now take place on January 25 in Stuttgary, Germany.
The bout serves in chief support to the cruiserweight title fight rematch between Marco Huck and Firat Arslan. The title fight comes 14 months after their first encounter, in which Huck retained his belt with a highly disputed unanimous decision win over Arslan, 40 at the time and also a massive underdog heading into the bout.
With the rescheduled showdown versus Orlov (14-12-1, 10KO) comes Price's debut with his new promoter Sauerland Event, who is giving the supporting bout its own main event treatment.
"David Price will face Evgeny Orlos as a co-feature to Huck v Arslan II in Stuttgart on Jan 25," read the announcement on the verified Twitter feed of Kalle and Nisse Sauerland. "(Limited tickets are) available via eventim.de. We will also be arranging ticket and hotel packages with special David Price fan rates - if interested, please (email) [email protected]."
Price (15-2, 13KO) was riding high following a breakthrough 2012 campaign that saw him emerge as one of the top heavyweight prospects. However, his year that was in 2013 sadly led to his landing as the latest entry in a lengthy list of British horizontal heavyweights, suffering back-to-back knockout losses to aged American contender Tony Thompson.
Following the loss came a full housecleaning. No longer along for the ride is promoter Frank Maloney, whose emotional investment into the heavyweight far exceeded his significant financial support of his career, as evidenced by his genuinely being reduced to tears following the Brit's second consecutive loss this past summer.
Also gone is Price's longtime trainer Franny Smith, though securing a replacement has proven a daunting task. The Brit thought to have found the answer by hooking up with Adam Booth, best known for his successfully steering David Haye to championship runs at cruiserweight and heavyweight.
Price and Booth joined forces in mid-October, a move that was shortly followed by the fighter's announcement of having signed with Germany-based promotional powerhouse Sauerland Event. However, the ring relationship between fighter and trainer didn't even make it to his first fight back; Booth removed himself from the fold after the two failed to come to terms over his managerial role in addition to his services as chief second.
Little time was lost in finding a replacement, as Team Price announced the addition of veteran trainer Tommy Brooks, best known for his rebuilding of Evander Holyfield and Junior Jones. The New Jersey based trainer also worked with the post-Holyfield version of Mike Tyson as well as stints with Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, former 140 lb. titlist Charles Murray and also miraculously guiding career journeyman Freddie Pendleton to the lightweight title.
Price and Brooks will have less than a month to get to know each other before the fighter's official ring return. Despite the perceived mismatch, all eyes will be on the recovery process of Price, whose last win came in Nov. '12 with a 2nd round knockout of Matt Skelton in his hometown of Liverpool, England.
The showdown with Orlov marks Price's first fight outside of the United Kingdom.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox