“It was the greatest night of my career.” Dave Coldwell’s ecstatic assessment of Tony Bellew’s destructive victory over Congolese dangerman, Ilunga Makabu, is not something that the Sheffield trainer says lightly.
A veteran of the corner in a number of high-profile fights, Coldwell could be forgiven for assuming he’s seen it all since falling in love with boxing at an early age. The sport once again proved its unpredictability as the Liverpool man decimated his opponent with a superb left hook in the third round that paved the way for scenes of jubilation throughout a wild Goodison Park.
“Tony is one of my closest friends so it wasn’t just a professional job, it was a personal one. The time and effort that has gone into this fight has been monumental from Tony and it’s so pleasing to see him win like that at a football ground that he absolutely worships. So many people had doubts about him but I was always certain that he’d be a world champion because the kid can fight and last night he showed the whole world that he’s an exceptional fighter and he’s not going to stop there.”
In the immediate aftermath, Bellew issued challenges to Denis Lebedev and David Haye and Coldwell is adamant that bigger fights are on the horizon for his charge.
“He’s earned the right to challenge the elite names of the sport now and his name will be on the radar as he’s a popular exciting fighter that gets people talking. The depth in the Cruiserweight division is scary so for Tony to sit at the top table with the WBC title is a seriously special achievement. It still hasn’t sunk in yet but I’m so proud of Tony and for me to play such a part in his greatest achievement is a huge honour.”