New heavyweight contender Tony Bellew has expressed his disappointment in friend and gym partner David Price missing out on a huge title fight opposite Anthony Joshua.
Price, who trains alongside Bellew with coach David Coldwell, was in the frame to face Joshua on December 10 at Manchester Arena until American former world title challenger Eric Molina was eventually given the nod.
Once the dust settled on negotiations, Bellew believed the choice of Molina simply came down to money and is adamant Joshua v Price would have set British fans’ pulses racing more than what is currently scheduled for Sky Sports Box Office next weekend.
“I think Eric Molina is a clown. He made himself so cheap that he’s put himself in the frame for the fight,” Bellew exclusively told World Boxing News
“It was going to be Pricey, and in my opinion, it should have been David facing Anthony Joshua. It’s a far more credible fight than Eric Molina.
“David Price has only lost to steroid cheats and that has to be firmly known. Drug cheats need banning for life as fighters are at risk. Why are they allowing people who have cheated before to possible cheat again?
“I feel so sorry for the hand that has been dealt David Price through no fault of his own. He’s a brilliant fighter.”
Price spoke to WBN in the build-up to the official announcement of Joshua v Molina and was ready to accept what would have been the biggest domestic top division fight of the year, something Bellew thought initially was an easy decision for promoter Eddie Hearn.
“I train with him and we sat down many a night talking about boxing and what he wants to do, where he wants to go. It broke my heart to see him put in that position because he wanted that fight. Pricey was up for it and everything made sense to make that fight with Joshua. Then this clown Molina comes in with an offer and makes it a no brainer for the promoter and fighter to take it.
“At the end of the day, Joshua is in control of his own career and he picks who he wants to fight. If somebody makes themselves so cheap, what can you do?
“It’s two British fighters, two Olympic medallists and it’s a big money fight. I think it would get more pay-per-view buys as nobody knows Eric Molina and everybody in Britain knows David Price.
“People forget he dominated the domestic division and smashed everyone. David Price didn’t get rocked by Dillian Whyte like Joshua did and was never in trouble at domestic level. When Dillian fought Joshua he was a domestic level fighter, at best and David absolutely blitzed everyone at domestic level.
“People seem to forget that and just cast it aside by saying he’s chinny, but anyone over fifteen stone hits you flush and you’re in trouble. I can’t emphasize it enough, though, David has only lost to drug cheats and it needs sorting out.
“I’ve got complete faith in David and I think everything will work out in the end,” he added.