Trainer Dave Coldwell will be at the centre of world boxing’s scrutiny on March 4 when he tries to plot the downfall of a former associate.
The Rotherham fight strategist will be guiding cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew against former two-weight world champion David Haye, in a heavyweight contest beamed across the world.
Coldwell was once ‘Head of Boxing’ for his opponent’s Hayemaker operation, but is now plotting his downfall at the live Sky TV box office event, which will be one of the biggest domestic tear-ups of 2017.
Today Coldwell, a former Ingle boxer who started training fighters in a gym at Hyde Park, Sheffield, revealed the unusual circumstances which led to him taking Bellew under his wing, a fighter who won the coveted WBC strap at Goodison Park, in his native Liverpool, last May.
“Without doubt, Tony winning the title was the highlight of my career” says the 41-year-old.
“I’ve been friends with Tony for a decade now, he was at my wedding a few years back and I set up his first professional deal when he turned pro with (promoter) Frank Warren (2007.)
“Although I wasn’t his trainer he’d asked me to be in the corner with him for the last couple fights he had at light-heavyweight and I went out to Canada (2013) with him when he lost to Adonis Stevenson for the (WBC) world title.
“It was on the trip back where the decision was made for him to move up to cruiserweight and a couple weeks or so later he asked me to go up to see him at his house for a chat about his future.
“It was then that he asked if I would help him in his career as a trainer. At the time I was happy to be out of the game, as a trainer, and enjoying just managing and promoting” said Coldwell, whose own boxing career at flyweight was a relatively modest one, although he did collar a Central Area title in 1999.
“But the fact that he was a good friend decided it for me, to be honest.
“If it had been anyone else I’d have said no. The rest is history!”
Coldwell, who curiously never boxed any of his 19 professional fights in Sheffield, is unfazed by the build up for the Bellew v Haye extravanganza, which has already featured a press conference clash in which Haye threw a punch at Bellew.
“The pressure of big fights doesn’t really bother me. In fact, I love it. People writing you off, others hoping you win, it’s great...all part of the game.
“I’m fortunate enough to have been in a lot of big fights now so experience is there and I’m quite used to the ‘madness’ that can be around the big fights during the build up.”
His own relationship with former associate Haye is not one either speak about much, since they parted company.
Coldwell said: “Other than the odd ‘Hello’ a couple of times since, I last had a real conversation with David Haye on our journey back from the unsuccessful Wladimir Klitschko trip, in 2011, so I can’t say that I know him any more.
“To be honest there isn’t one member of the Hayemaker team that is still around these days so I’m not the only one that has lost touch.”