Dubai: Don’t expect a comeback for retired British boxer Tony Bellew. His former trainer David Coldwell says he won’t let him return, and is instead focusing on his next superstar Jordan Gill, who will be using Dubai’s Real Boxing Only Gym in Al Quoz as an occasional training base as part of a new shorts sponsorship agreement.
Cruiserweight Bellew retired in November following his eighth round knockout defeat to the Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk in Manchester.
He immediately announced his retirement in the ring after the fight ending with a record of 30 wins, three losses and one draw.
Most boxing retirements are met with cynicism, but Coldwell suggested Bellew’s declaration was for real. “No, done, 100 per cent done,” he told Gulf News on Monday. “I wouldn’t let him come back because we’ve done everything that needs to be done.
“He became world champ, beat David Haigh in fights that everyone thought he was going to lose. He became a household name in those fights and secured his family’s future.
“Once you’ve won a world title and secured you’re family’s future then it’s a case of daring to be great and challenging Uysk for all the belts. It didn’t come off, he wasn’t quite good enough, there’s no shame it that, but what are you going to come back for? To win a title he’s already won or to make a few more quid?
“He’s done that already, he’s a smart kid and not blown his money. He’s been punched in the face for 20-odd years, now it’s time to enjoy with his family, he’s 36, it’s not as if he’s 28. There’s absolutely nothing to come back for.”
Coldwell is instead focusing his time on ‘next big thing’ British featherweight Gill, who has a new sponsorship agreement with Dubai’s Real Boxing Only Gym that will see him train in the emirate and fight with the gym’s logo on his shorts.
“2019 is about new blood coming through. Gill is without doubt the most talented fighter I’ve ever worked with. I was reserved speaking about him until he won the Commonwealth title ]beating Britain’s Ryan Doyle by TKO in London in October].
“Under the lights, when the pressure is on and you’re fighting for a title that’s on TV and in a big arena, that’s when you see a lot of people go into their shell and only see 50-70 per cent of what they do in the gym.
“He went out and did everything we worked on, now you know he can just go out and replicate that and isn’t going to freeze, because he’s done it already.
“I now know he’s got the mentality to go with the ability and the ability is the best I’ve ever worked with. He has the potential to be a world elite level operator, he’s that good, and it’s not often I get excited about a fighter.”
As for Real Boxing Only Gym’s logo on Gill’s shorts and that elusive much-speculated big fight finally coming to Dubai, he said: “The higher profile this place gets (the gym), the more it will get people realising boxing is a thing in Dubai. Then it will take off. It’s only getting bigger and bigger here, and in the next three or four years I imagine there will be a big event.”