By Tris Dixon
TRAINER Dave Coldwell admits his fighter Tony Bellew will be a significant underdog should the proposed fight with cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk be made.
“It’s the toughest fight out there but it’s the biggest challenge,” Coldwell stated. “Tony said he wants one more fight. 2018 is going to be his last year and I said, ‘If you have another fight it’s got to be something that gets your juices going, you’re 100 per cent up for and that’s going to financially reward you.’ So it gets his juices going, he’s excited about the fight and it’s another fight where he’s written off and people think he’s going to get smashed to bits. It’s not about pressure, but at this stage of his career, having won at Goodison [Park and won the WBC title], he’s ticked all the boxes and anything else is about the bonus. And it helps when people say you can’t do something and then you show them that you can. He gets off on that, I think.
“Usyk is very, very good. But he’s beatable. It’s not like what Usyk [would do what he] did against Gassiev. Tony told me about Usyk long before Usyk turned pro. So I’ve been watching him since he turned pro, I watched his WSB fights and I’ve obviously watched him all the way through the pros. [Murat] Gassiev’s feet are terrible, Tony’s feet are better. Gassiev loads up looking for one shot. Tony doesn’t do that now. Don’t get me wrong, Bellew’s still the underdog going in, I understand that, but he’s been the underdog in nearly every big fight he’s had.”
There was speculation of Bellew facing Tyson Fury, but Coldwell cannot see it happening.
“I think he [Tony] would have been the underdog in the eyes of most, everybody will think that,” Coldwell said. “I fancy him against Fury. We’re talking about Fury now, after his fight in August, but I’m hearing he wants another fight, another two or three fights before he fights Bellew. That’s not good. Tony’s out in 2018. “We’re not leaving it until the end of time. I don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Coldwell is also tasked with bringing back former bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell. Promoter Eddie Hearn said the Doncaster man will likely return in October or November in a 10-rounder at featherweight.
Asked whether he regretted allowing McDonnell to make the weight to defend the title against Naoyo Inoue, Coldwell replied: “If you remember, I wanted him to go up after the Kameda fight. But when you’re not a commodity in the boxing world and when you hold little value in terms if ticket sales, in terms of viewing figures, you can’t give up your only bargaining chip for a decent payday. He’s been earning unbelievable money for a bantamweight because he’s had that WBA title. He’s had to keep making that weight to hold that. And it’s come to the point where he couldn’t make the weight and be strong. He had a choice, which a lot of fighters are doing, ‘Stuff that, I’m not making weight, I’ll give my title up on the scales and let everyone down’ or ‘I’m making the weight’. And he wanted to make the weight. I mentioned to him about dropping it, pulling out, everything was fine until the morning of the weigh-in. That’s when your mind changed from, ‘We’re going to win,’ to I just want him to be safe.’”
Another Coldwell fighter was in action in London last night, on the Whyte-Parker show at the O2, with Anthony Fowler scoring a career best win to move to 7-0. The former Rio Olympian took the unbeaten record of Craig O’Brien, who dropped to 8-1. Fowler concluded matters with a huge left hook and Coldwell was pleased.
“For the first time in camp I’ve only given him one bollocking – just because he doesn’t do what we are working on day in-day out in sparring. But in sparring for this camp he was doing it everyday and today, he’s still got to do more, but he showed improvement. Today he was patient, he worked the body more and that’s what I want to work with him on, to become a good body puncher. And he’s getting better and better because Craig O’Brien’s style is all wrong for Fowler because he’s a mover. But he handled it really well by working the body and taking his legs away.”