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Shields vs Marshall undercard: Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall look to make their own history

Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall are unique; the partners won Olympic medals together; they live together, train together, even spar together; on Saturday they will fight on the same card, on the historic Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall bill live on Sky Sports

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Partners Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall will compete on the undercard of Savannah Marshall vs Claressa Shields on what will be a historic night for women's boxing

Lauren Price and Karriss Artingstall are in this together. The couple won Olympic medals together in Tokyo last year. They will both fight on the historic Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall bill on Saturday, live on Sky Sports. They have even been sparring together.

"We're both professionals obviously in what we do," Artingstall told Sky Sports. "We're not stupid when we go into a spar. It's to learn things, we don't go in there trying to take each other's heads off sort of thing.

"I try and push her, she tries and pushes me so I think the coaches know that's the kind of people we are so they don't hesitate in putting us in together."

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Price and Artingstall are determined to impress at The O2

Artingstall won a featherweight bronze medal at the Tokyo Games. Her partner Price was the middleweight Olympic champion and is boxing professionally at welter, still well above Artingstall's weight class.

It means Artingstall cannot help but take the occasional liberty in sparring. "She tries to load up on me," Price laughed. "She wings them in."

"I do try to wing them in a little bit, otherwise it's pointless for her," Artingstall smiled. "I try and get a few sneaky ones in as well, just before the bell or if she's fixing her headguard just try and get a quick jab in there, a cheap shot!"

But Artingstall added: "Believe it or not she's faster than any of the 57kgs I've been in with. She throws me off guard all the time with her feints and whatnot and obviously the power with the weight difference, so it's really, really good for me."

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The first time the two sparred was at their home in Sheffield during lockdown. They pushed the furniture out of the way in their living room and went for it, without even putting headguards on.

"We were coming out with like fat lips, black eyes, we were doing eight-threes, 30 seconds rest," Price said.

"That was the worst one, that was the worst time we sparred, that was where no coaches were watching," Artingstall remembered. "I told her not to go easy on me but she caught me with a sharp jab and I tried winging them back. It was kind of uncontrolled… But it kept us fit."

Their sparring might get overzealous on occasions but living together, working together and training together is a unique advantage. Professional boxing is a notoriously lonely sport. But they are going on every step of their journey through it together.

"Imagine just doing this on your own," Price said. "We are quite lucky in that aspect. It just works. Being in camp, being in Sheffield.

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Price says she cannot wait to watch the mega fight between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall on Saturday at The O2, live on Sky Sports

"It works fighting close together, obviously diet and eating the same stuff. It's pretty easy."

Artingstall added: "I'd say it was special if anything, we're lucky to have what we've got. Instead of going into a training session on your own, which a lot of the fighters do, or they have to leave their family or their children or whatnot, I've always got home comfort in Lauren when I'm in the gym. We never argue, never bicker.

"Every session we help each other, regardless if it's the runs, S&C, gym whatever, just having her beside me it helps. She's a better sprinter than me, more explosive so I try and beat her, I try my hardest.

"It's good for her as well, it motivates her to push harder."

The Welsh star will box Timea Belik at The O2 on Saturday. Price holds an amateur win over show-headliner Marshall. They, however, harbour no grudge. Price followed Marshall to become the top middleweight on the GB squad.

"I've sparred her [Marshall] and I boxed her. I boxed her in Spain. I won but we get on really well, there's nothing there between us," she said.

Great Britain's Karriss Artingstall (right) and Lauren Price arrive at Heathrow Airport, London following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
Image: Artingstall and Price return from Tokyo with their Olympic medals

Neither Price nor Artingstall are dwelling on potential future fights. They're concentrating on making the adaptations they need as professional fighters.

Artingstall was a heavy-handed puncher, even in the larger amateur gloves. She could get a knockout run started on the show at The O2 when she fights Marina Sakharov.

"I'm not going for it," Artingstall said. "It would be nice to get it but I'm not going to purposely go out and look for it. Because I'll make myself look stupid. I'd get caught with shots I'd never get caught with.

"Just putting my shots together, penetrating through the guard and it snaps the head back. If I just go in there, box the way I do, because I am actually a really good boxer, I'm not just a bit of a power puncher. Hopefully it all just comes together.

"I want to move a lot but minimise the movement a bit more, staying in the pocket. It's more angles in the pros instead of drifting in and out. I don't want to neglect anything that got me to the level I got to in the amateurs. I won a bronze medal in the Olympics for a reason, so why diminish that? I want to keep that, just add things."

Lauren Price makes her pro debut (Image: Lawrence Lustig)
Image: Price has moved down two weight divisions for her professional career (Image: Lawrence Lustig)

Price is known for her speed and southpaw skills. But she is also tough, determined and a robust athlete. She had to be to win every major amateur championship, including the Olympic Games, all while boxing and beating substantially bigger opponents, many of them ferocious punchers who were not afraid to indulge in the occasional dark art, slamming a shoulder in here and there, the kind of tricks more familiar to pro boxing.

As a professional Price has moved down two divisions and will settle at welterweight before considering moving back up.

"It's mad thinking that obviously I got in with them girls and obviously I've taken a few knocks off them," Price said.

She's now coming down to fight people her own size. "The pro game's different. Obviously for me as an amateur I was always in and out, on my feet, using my speed and obviously there's a lot more to me than that. [Karriss] sees it in the gym. I can obviously stand there and have a tear up," Price continued.

"At that level I could never stand and trade with Nouchka [Fontijn, her great amateur rival], she'd knock me out. I suppose it's just having different things in your locker. If I was to move up weight then in the pros, I've got that speed and movement there to outbox girls as well. I just want it all to come together and I'm sure over time both of us will do that.

Lauren Price takes aim on her pro debut (Image: Lawrence Lustig)
Image: "I can stand there and have a tear up." Price takes aim on her pro debut (Image: Lawrence Lustig)

"I just want to get as low as a I can. Be like a female Canelo, he went through the weights, didn't he? I could do the same."

For both it is the skills that brought them to the highest level of the amateur sport that will make the difference for them as professionals.

"When I watch Jessica McCaskill [the undisputed welterweight champion], obviously I'm not calling her out or nothing," Price said. "I just think technical ability I don't think she's very good but obviously no disrespect to her. She's just tough and she's game. Realistically if I was to probably box her now, if I was to be honest, I think I would beat her.

"But I just think obviously in time in the pro game there's no point rushing," she added. "Just got to be sensible. I think over time you'll see improvements from myself and just settling into a pro style."

Karriss Artingstall
Image: Artingstall is a powerful puncher with a good all round skillset

Artingstall shares the exact same confidence. "I didn't reach the level and accomplish everything I accomplished in the amateurs for being rubbish," she said. "When you look at the rest of the pool, the other weights around my weight and my weight itself, they're not as good as me technically.

"I train as if I'm fighting for a world title anyway. But the key word for me is just experience. I've probably got the power the majority of them have got. I've definitely got the heart, if I was to get taken into deep water, and I could probably outbox the majority of them. It's just experience for me."

The show at The O2 on Saturday will be special for both. Normally it is too nerve-wracking for them to box in the same event on the same night. But for this historic all-women's card they had to make an exception.

"I am really proud to be part of this event and it is amazing that Claressa and Savannah are headlining," said Price.

"Being on this, like Lauren said it's a historic night," Artingstall added. "It's history being made, it's phenomenal and what a privilege it is being part of it."

All tickets purchased for original Shields vs Marshall date remain valid for October 15. Last remaining tickets can be purchased at boxxer.com.

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