Top UK trainer David Coldwell is taking it one step at a time as British heavyweight David Price, the newest addition to his camp, makes a welcome return on May 29.
Price, 32, fights for the first time in ten months on the Tony Bellew v Ilunga Makabu WBC cruiserweight title undercard at Goodison Park following on from his devastating knockout loss to Erkan Teper.
Despite the two round blowout being under the cloud of a failed test by Teper, the EBU upheld the result of the contest – meaning Price has lost three of his last seven bouts to fighters under the suspicion of doping.
Promoters Sauerland had originally planned for Price to return to his homeland as a champion on the back of a five-fight hiatus from British shores, although things didn’t quite go to plan and the 23rd fight of the former British champion’s career is the start of a rebuilding job under Coldwell.
The knowledgeable coach and manager is working with the likes of current world and European champions the McDonnell brothers – Jamie and Gavin, whilst preparing Bellew for his third world title challenge on top billing next month.
Coldwell has been overseeing daily duties with Price for over two months since the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist returned full-time to the UK and is showing positive signs ahead of what will be the Merseysider’s first British fight in almost three years.
“We have the date we are concentrating on (May 29) and David is looking very good. He’s improving not just technically, but mentally as well,” Coldwell exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I’m happy in all aspects of his training at the moment and on May 29 we just want people to see the changes that have been going on.
“There were obviously things that needed changing in him, like him being stiff and upright, plus getting him to be a bit more vicious with his punching. So when he does go into the ring he goes in with the intention of hurting people and not being too cautious.”
Asked what kind of opponent is being considered for the comeback bout, Coldwell quashed any expectations above a routine tune-up – before bigger tests are sought after further down the line.
“His first fight back is not going to be about the opponent. It’s about David fighting back in the UK,” he explained. “I want him to go in there and try the things we’ve been working on. I want him to focus on his boxing and not the fight itself.
“It’s not about the opponent in front of him, it’s more about David getting back under the lights and knocking away a few cobwebs. I want him to fight at least a couple more times this year.”
There had been some talk of a possible vacant British title fight on the horizon for Price, although Coldwell wouldn’t rule out going down that route at some point should the chance fall within their blueprint.
“We’ve got a plan in our mind and we will take our opportunities as they come,” said Coldwell.
“Previously, David made a big jump from the British title to fighting Tony Thompson who had only lost to Klitschko on points before coming to Liverpool. David probably needed to fight step by step, so this time, we’ll blow off the cobwebs and then look to step up.
“As long as the British title falls inside our path and with the other opportunities that are there for him, we’ll do the title if it’s there, but’s got to be the right fight and opponent at the right time.
“There’s no point fighting a southpaw if our end goal isn’t against a southpaw. We’ve got a plan, myself, Sauerland and David, so we’ll map it out the right way. We might only have one crack at this so it’s got to be done right. David’s mentality has got to be right and the fights have got to right.”
As doubts remain over whether Price could ultimately cut it at the top with world title holding compatriots Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury, Coldwell was quick to point out that ‘Pricey’ is still a concussive puncher with a 70% plus KO ratio to his credit.
“I don’t care who you are, if David hits you on the chin he’s knocking you out…and that’s a fact!
“If he lets them shots go properly and hits them on chin – he’s doing them. When you’ve got a man who has that power, you can never write them off completely,” he added.