THE last time Derek Chisora had Dave Coldwell in his corner there was concern the head of Poland’s Artur Szpilka would end up in a ringside seat, so ferocious was Chisora’s finish in the second round that night.
Since then, Chisora has competed three times without Coldwell delivering instructions between rounds and has gone 1-2 in those three fights. Admittedly, fights against Oleksandr Usyk and Joseph Parker were not easy ones to win, nor accurate barometers of Chisora’s progress, yet it cannot be denied, either, that the last time Chisora looked dangerous – not to mention full of ideas – he did so with Coldwell by his side.
The good news now, for both Chisora and those still enjoying him, is that Coldwell will again be by his side when Chisora faces Joseph Parker in a rematch on December 18 in Manchester. Having ironed out their differences, most of which concerned location, Derek and Dave are back as a double act.
“The reason why we split in the first place was because he wanted me to train him in London and I couldn’t do that,” Coldwell explained to Boxing News. “I’ve got my fighters up here [in Rotherham], I’ve got my family up here, and I wasn’t looking at going down and relocating. Derek was willing to pay for all my fighters’ costs to move camp down there but they had their S&C sessions up here with Danny Wilson and, to be honest, we had our routine up here and I’ve also got my family up here. So, I wouldn’t do that. That’s why I left.
“Then, after the Parker fight, we had a chat on the phone. I said, ‘Listen, I’m not being funny, you’ve got one more shot at this. You get beat again and your big, big meaningful fights are done. You’re just going to be a name for everyone else coming through. You’ve got one more fight, so just f**king do it properly. Whatever you choose to do, do it properly.’
“He then came up and saw me and we had another chat. I said to him, ‘If you want to do it properly, I’ll train you. But I’ll train you up here.’ He asked me again to relocate to London but I told him, ‘No, I’m not doing that. We’ve been here before.’ I said, ‘If you want to do it, you’ve got to show me you want to do it. [Tony] Bellew travelled to me for six or seven years. That’s what it is. You come to me. I’m not going anywhere.’ He just made his mind up there on the spot. He said, ‘All right, we’re doing it.’”
Coldwell’s primary fear, when again offering his help, was that everything he had taught Chisora first time around had since been unlearned, trained out of him by other men who don’t follow his own philisophies, in boxing terms. Added to this, Coldwell was acutely aware of the fact Chisora was to soon turn 38 years of age and had just suffered his 10th and 11th career defeats.
Yet, despite these concerns, Coldwell’s overriding emotion so far is one of pleasant surprise. “I’ll be honest with you, I’m over the moon with his training so far,” he said. “Because they’d undone the philosophies we’d been working on before, which you saw in the Szpilka fight, I thought everything was going to be worse second time around. We’re a couple of years down the line as well and he’s had a couple of hard fights.
“The first time I took him on the pads it was worse than the first day the last time we worked with each other. I thought, ‘Oh my God.’ But he’s picked it up really quickly and is now doing everything I’m asking him to do. He’s shocking his sparring partners every time they spar. They have all noticed the difference. He’s doing so much better than I thought he would at this stage in camp.
“He’s understanding that at his age, and with miles on the clock, he’s still got to pressure and make them work and grind them down, but he’s got to do it in an intelligent way, where he’s not emptying his tank after four rounds. We need that power carrying through the whole fight.”
Should things continue in this manner, Coldwell has every reason to believe Chisora, 32-11 (23), will turn his recent run of competitive losses right around. Better yet, he predicts a return of the Chisora we saw back in July 2019, when demolishing poor Szpilka.
“If he can do what I want him to do, I think he knocks Parker out, I really do,” said Coldwell. “I think Parker will find himself breathing a lot heavier and a lot quicker and won’t understand why. Then, when he starts stressing about why he’s feeling sapped of energy, the head shots will start coming in. I’m trying to eradicate the swing-and-hope punches. There’s a time and place for that – like in the [Carlos] Takam fight – but not every 10 seconds of a fight.
“I’m very confident, though. I can’t believe how he’s taken everything on board so quickly.”