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Lauren Price prepared for dog fight against Jessica McCaskill in bid for first world title

Watch Lauren Price challenge Jessica McCaskill in her first world title fight in Cardiff on Saturday, live on Sky Sports; Vasiliy Lomachenko then faces George Kambosos Jr in Australia on Sunday

Jessica McCaskill and Lauren Price face off
Image: Jessica McCaskill and Lauren Price face off

Lauren Price prides herself on being a slick, calculated sweet science technician, but has warned she is fully prepared to show a gritty side against Jessica McCaskill if necessary on Saturday.

It's been touted as a fascinating clash of styles, the gold-standard finesse of Olympic champion Price and the full-throttle aggression of former undisputed ruler McCaskill.

Mutual respect has been the theme of the build-up, both acknowledging the enormity of a test that offers Price a route to her maiden world title should she relieve McCaskill of her WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine welterweight belts.

Through six fights as a professional Price has barely been asked to break a sweat while showcasing his world-class potential. She knows that will change when she steps out in front of a raucous Cardiff crowd this weekend.

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McCaskill believes she's seen some weaknesses from Price in the build-up to their welterweight title fight on Saturday

"I think she'll bring the best out in me," Price told Sky Sports. "I think my last fights have been quite comfortable, I've won every round on the scorecards.

"I think when she brings her A game, you'll see the best of me, there's lots more to come from me. And each fight I keep learning, I keep improving.

"I can definitely fight. I can mix it all. I've had to get in there with some big girls at middleweight and obviously to win Olympic gold medals, I've had to hold my own and those girls have had a lot of weight on me and I've had to fight them off.

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"I can definitely stand there and trade when I want to. But first of all it's called boxing, it's all about the skills."

What might be deemed a fast track to the world title stage in fact feels like a natural progression for Price, who had anticipated a swift-moving start to her professional career such had been her success at the amateur level.

McCaskill arrives 10 years older than Price, though boasts a resume that has seen her dethrone the great Cecilia Brækhus as well as go the distance with Chantelle Cameron - who would later defeat Katie Taylor - and draw against rising star Sandy Ryan. She is no stranger to marquee matchups, but Price feels she will carry an edge over the American come fight night.

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Price is relishing the prospect of fighting in front of a home crowd

"I'm in my prime," said Price. "I'm young, I'm motivated and I've got big goals, big dreams.

"Yes it's only my seventh pro fight, but what I've achieved in my amateur career, I've got to the pinnacle of sport and won an Olympic gold medal. I feel like I'm more than ready. I believe that I win that fight and that's it really.

"I know she's obviously going to bring her toughness and try and rough me up and turn it into a dog fight, but that's down to me to use my skills, stick to my boxing and listen to my corner."

While a Welsh homecoming awaits Price, McCaskill insists she is not fazed by the possibility of a hostile atmosphere. In her eyes, the onus is on Price.

"The pressure is going to be on Lauren because when you think of a fighter and fights and champions coming in then you think the other person really has to do something to take the belt so I feel like the pressure is on her," said McCaskill.

"She really has to do something to take the belt, she can't just win because she's from here. She is going to have to put on quite a performance. I just have to see what she's got."

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Price insists she is prepared for aggressive tactics from McCaskill

Price believes her amateur experience and nous will guide her to victory. McCaskill believes her professional experience and nous will guide her to victory.

There aren't too many styles the pair will have not encountered at either level. McCaskill has faith that hers will prevail.

"When it comes to how this fight is set up, when you think of my experience and her being fresh in the professional game, there's always going to be a mental state that you keep and they might expect me to be wild and big and overreact," she said.

"If you come in and you're calm that upsets people and makes people worry and panic so it's about keeping the control of this situation and being elusive and not overdoing things."

McCaskill has embraced the trip to Cardiff to defend her belts, visiting local boxing gyms in Wales and taking the time to pose for photos with Welsh fans who she laughs would later admit they are rooting against her.

The nature of her business trip entails not only retaining her titles, but earning herself new fans and a new respect at the same time. Where others may fear away territory, McCaskill has drawn on her previous travels in order to soak up the week.

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McCaskill's trainer Rick Ramos questions Price's professional record ahead of their huge world title fight on Sunday

"I think there's a lot of difference in the mental game, staying cool, calm and collected. When you're fighting away, not a lot of people come with you, there are times people travel but you bring things to keep your mind in a calm state," she said.

"I have a couple of books, making bracelets, making sure your mind is in a certain place, not just being in the room watching TV waiting for this thing, or that thing, not making boxing make you anxious and physically, coming to Wales on weight was important to me because the first couple of days is travel and you miss out on the workouts.

"When you come on weight you don't have to worry and you go straight into what your workout is. Not overworking, if I need my strength and conditioning coach, we can do a Zoom call and workouts together and having a solid team, not being afraid of saying what I want and need and having a team that is receptive to that.

"It's important for athletes to stand up and have those conversations with their team."

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The entertaining Moses Jolly features on the McCaskill-Price undercard - watch his combined acrobatics and dance moves during his pad session at Wednesday's media workout

At the age of 39, McCaskill has faced questions over what else might lie ahead in her career.

What Price should be ready for, however, is a fighter with no less hunger to triumph than she had earlier in her career.

"Taking a fight like this demonstrates this, there isn't a shortage of opponents to fight Jessica," said McCaskill's trainer Rick Ramos.

"We'll prove Saturday night we're still the best."

It's one of the biggest sporting events in a generation. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collide for the undisputed world heavyweight championship on Saturday May 18, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book the fight now.

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