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Lauren Price edges into final and stays on course for gold as Britain’s boxers deliver Tokyo 2020 medal rush

LAUREN Price booked her appointment with Olympic middleweight destiny – but was given the fight of her life by Dutch rival Nouchka Fontijn.

Welsh wonder Price and Fontijn have been fighting for supremacy for five years, with the former part-time cabbie from Newport holding a narrow edge.

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Team GB’s Lauren Price tries to get a read on Nouchka FontijnCredit: PA

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Price walks Fontijn onto a beautiful straight right handCredit: AFP

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An elated Price celebrates after winning via split-decisionCredit: Reuters

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An emotional Price celebrates with her cornerCredit: Getty

And after three gruelling rounds at the Kokugican Arena, the 27-year-old – who lost a point in round two – got through by the skin of her teeth on a 3-2 majority after two judges gave it to her on the tie-break when their cards were level.

Britain’s boxers have delivered six medals at Tokyo 2020 with Price and Galal Yafai both still in with a chance of gold.

Price had just outpointed Fontijn to lift the world and European belts in 2019.

Yet despite the southpaw Brit seeming to have used her speed to edge the first, ducking inside Fontijn’s orthodox lead to land her own shots, it was the Dutch fighter who shaded it with three of the five judges.

That put the pressure on, increased even more when Price was deducted a point for holding.

Even though she took the round with three of the judges, it meant she was behind on four of the cards after two, having to dominate the last to get through.

She did not do that in another three minutes which could have been decided either way but was shaded by the Welsh fighter according to four of them.

I’m just over the moon that I got the win

Lauren Price

That left Fontijn ahead on two cards, Price on one and level with the Argentine and Moroccan judges.

Both, they, gave their tie break vote to Price, who howled in sheer delight as the verdict came in to confirm her passage to Sunday’s final.

A thrilled Price thanked her fans as she left the ring, adding: “It means the world.”

She told the BBC: “It’s pretty mad, to be honest.

“Obviously, I knew I was up against it today, we’re the best two in the world.

“We’ve faced each other a number of times and we know each other inside out. So it was whoever was better on the day.

“I started a little bit slow, but I suppose that’s where your experience comes into it and listening to my corner I went out in the second and third round to win the fight.

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“I’m just over the moon that I got the win. But I take my hat off to her.

“Obviously, she’s been around a while as well, Olympic silver medallist and she’s world-class as well.

“So I’m just really pleased that I got the decision today.”

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