By Terence Dooley
Dave Coldwell of Coldwell Boxing recently signed Curtis Woodhouse to a three-year promotional deal after previously working with the former Premiership footballer in a coaching and managerial capacity. Coldwell Boxing have launched their latest signing straight into a make-or-break British light-welterweight title eliminator with big hitting former Prizefighter contestant Dale Miles, 12-1 (9), at Rotherham's Magna Centre on Friday night in what could be a barnstormer of a battle.
Once consider to be something of a novelty act, Woodhouse is now a few wins away from contesting the coveted Lonsdale belt, which he has pledged to win for his late father, and he also gained plenty of respect when dropping a tight split decision to Frankie Gavin last July. Although he has lost three times and has a modest record of 12-3 (9), Woodhouse has consistently asked Coldwell for tough fights.
Woodhouse hopes that Friday's tricky meeting with Dale will push him a few more miles down the road towards British title contention. Indeed, although he is never going to be mistaken for Carl Froch, the 32-year-old has something of Froch's attitude about him, often telling Coldwell to get him the best opponent possible as opposed to asking for an easy night's work.
“Curtis has come from being seen as a bit of a joke in the early days to a guy who is fighting an eliminator for the British title against a tough, big punching southpaw, which is amazing,” said Coldwell when speaking to BoxingScene – the promoter also approved of the Froch comparison.
“Look, if you mention Curtis's name with Carl's in any way then Curtis will be happy with that,” he said. “You know Curtis, he doesn't say this or that, he just goes in and fights anybody and gives it his all, just like Carl does.
“Curtis is one fight away from the British title, which he has always wanted, so he won't let this slip. We went to Liverpool last week to watch Ashley Theopane [lose his British title] against Darren Hamilton and watched Adil Anwar win [a 10-round decision] against Dave Ryan [in a British 140lb title eliminator]. Those guys are seen as at the top of the division, but you can't look at them and say Curtis isn't in their league. People would have laughed if you said that over 12-months ago.”
He added: “Curtis would walk through Anwar over 12 [rounds]. Over three, Anwar is brilliant, but I'd take Curtis over the longer distance. Hamilton is a tricky guy, it would be difficult for Curtis, but over 12-rounds he would beat him.”
Spencer Fearon works with Hamilton. The London-based promoter has a good relationship with Coldwell and a Hamilton-Woodhouse meeting is a distinct possibility. Although Coldwell insisted that Woodhouse is not looking beyond Miles.
“I know Spencer well, so I've said we can look at Darren coming up here to defend his title against Curtis, but we've got Miles first and he could knock Curtis out – then we'd have been talking about a British title fight that doesn't exist,” said Coldwell.
“Curtis has been great to work with. When he first came I thought, 'Why would I want to get involved with a footballer? He'll be a right arsehole', but from day one he's followed the plan that was mapped out for him and even though he got beat, he listened when I said I'd rebuild him and we have done that.”
Carl Froch certainly showed the world what he is made of when hammering Lucian Bute to a fifth-round stoppage defeat on May 26. Many within the trade had written Froch off; Coldwell, though, felt that Froch was the more experienced fighter going in and went for a home win.
“I went for Carl to win in Boxing Monthly's prediction poll,” Coldwell said with a smile. “I always said Carl would do it. You can't beat him for grit and attitude, so he was willing to walk through fire. With that type of atmosphere [in Nottingham's Capital FM Arena], there was no way he was getting beat.
“I knew he'd nail him. I looked at the first [Librado] Andrade fight [in which Bute was caught and hurt in the 12th] and thought Carl would catch him, but the only thing I worried about was Bute's left to the body, which Carl got caught with a few times. Carl ground him down, walked through him and made it into a dogfight – there was only going to be one winner there.
“I was sat with [former British super middleweight champion] Paul Smith – we shouted our way through it. There can be no excuses from Bute. Bear in mind that he came into the fight telling everyone he would win, so he couldn't come out and make excuses after because there were no excuses. They said Carl didn't have a chance, but he walked through fire.
“No one else can stand up to Carl's record. He had a bad night at the office against Andre Ward [in December's Super Six final] and came back strong against a guy who people had picked to beat him. I think he should milk this – it is massive. I think it is bigger than [Ricky] Hatton against [Kostya] Tszyu or [Joe] Calzaghe against [Jeff] Lacy. Tszyu couldn't run towards the end of his career. Lacy didn't do anything after he lost to Joe. This guy had been at the top for a long time and was supposed to come over here and beat Carl. Carl should enjoy it, be the big man around town and in Britain for a bit and why not get him an easy fight, but knowing Carl he wouldn't want one!”
As for Froch's next move, Coldwell believes that a return match with either Andre Ward or Mikkel Kessler – both of whom hold wins over Froch – would be the logical next step for “The Cobra”. He said: “Carl knows what Ward's about now. Maybe he can make adjustments next time. Ward won it, but who is talking about Ward now?
“Why not take a rematch with Kessler? Bute should forget about a rematch for now because he got wiped out and needs to rebuild back in Canada again. It would be silly to take on Carl again because he got smashed to bits. Bute is the same quality fighter who went in, he just got bashed by a guy with a lot of fire in his belly who was willing to walk through anything. Also give [Froch's trainer] Robert McCracken his kudos, he is a quiet guy who goes about his business and who deserved that type of a night. As a boxing fan [this was] one of the best nights ever – it was totally brilliant.”
Please send news and views to firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @Terryboxing.