Dave Coldwell is no stranger to daunting challenges. In 2011, the Rotherham-based trainer cornered Sheffield’s Ryan Rhodes as he looked to overcome the threat of Mexican darling, Saul Alvarez, but he was left disappointed as his outgunned charge was stopped in the final round.
On Saturday night, Coldwell aims for even bigger heights as he takes Liverpool’s Tony Bellew into battle against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk with every single honour at cruiserweight on the line. Excited by the size of the task that lies ahead, Coldwell admits that this is the biggest moment of his professional career.
“Without any doubt this is the biggest fight I’ve been involved in,” revealed Coldwell during a quiet moment away from the typical hysteria of fight week. “I’m proud and privileged to have been a party of some very big nights in British boxing in a variety of capacities, but Saturday night is something that I’m so excited by because of what’s at stake.
“The size of this fight and the opportunity to come out of there with Tony Bellew as the undisputed champion of the world is the type of thing you dream about every night and it’s why you want to be involved in this sport. He’s worked so hard for this opportunity and we fully believe that we’ve got the plan to get the result we want.”
In Usyk, Bellew is facing an undefeated fighter who has added to his tremendous amateur success by essentially cleaning out the cruiserweight division. The inaugural winner of the World Boxing Super Series arrives in Manchester on Saturday as the holder of every belt at 200lbs, and although Coldwell is full of respect for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, hours studying the man have alerted him to issues that he believes his fighter must exploit.
“He’s nice on the eye and if you let him get into a rhythm then you’re in for a very hard fight. I’ve watched enough of him now to know that there are opportunities for Tony to have a big say in this fight and if he gets it right and does everything we’ve worked on then a lot of people are going to be surprised.
“Tony gets nowhere the credit he deserves for his boxing brain, but people are going to be shocked at what they see on Saturday night. Tony has excelled in the underdog role on several occasions before this fight and it makes no difference to him whatsoever what people think his chances are. He’s in a good place and you’ll see that this weekend.”