The South Yorkshire man behind Tony Bellew’s rise to the top

David Haye is embraced by the trainer of Tony Bellew, Dave Coldwell (right) after losing the heavyweight contest at The O2. Pix: Nick Potts/PA Wire
David Haye is embraced by the trainer of Tony Bellew, Dave Coldwell (right) after losing the heavyweight contest at The O2. Pix: Nick Potts/PA Wire
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Rotherham trainer Dave Coldwell was celebrating one of boxing’s biggest recent upsets today.

He was the architect of Tony Bellew’s stoppage win over David Haye at London’s 02 Arena.

Tony Bellew celebrates victory over David Haye alongside promoter Eddie Hearn (left) and trainer Dave Coldwell (right)

Tony Bellew celebrates victory over David Haye alongside promoter Eddie Hearn (left) and trainer Dave Coldwell (right)

Coldwell and his man were helped by a dramatic Achilles injury which left Haye hobbling and virtually immobile for much of the fight.

Haye bravely fought on before being punched through the ropes in the 11th round.

Coldwell, a former Sheffield Ingle boxer, leaped into the ring to embrace Bellew at the end.

The grudge match that had been considered a mismatch became a nightmare for Haye from the sixth, when after losing his balance the injury occurred and left him barely unable to stay on his feet.

David Haye (right) takes on Tony Bellew during the heavyweight contest at The O2. Pics: Nick Potts/PA Wire

David Haye (right) takes on Tony Bellew during the heavyweight contest at The O2. Pics: Nick Potts/PA Wire

He persisted from then until the 11th, struggling as much for balance as against Bellew and clearly on the verge of exhaustion.

He was finally pulled out by his trainer Shane McGuigan when he was knocked through the ropes and almost out of the ring amid his pursuit of one conclusive punch.

The 36-year-old’s midweek trip to Munich had been followed by reports of an Achilles injury and his subsequent claims he had started them as a mind game.

Instead of him proving both too big and too skilled an opponent for Bellew in his opponent’s first fight in the heavyweight division, his fitness and technique unravelled to leave him staring at the end of his career.

Dave Allen (left) and David Howe (right) during the weigh-in at The O2, London.

Dave Allen (left) and David Howe (right) during the weigh-in at The O2, London.

Bellew’s greatest chance of success came in spoiling throughout the opening rounds in an attempt to survive and to see if Haye would tire and become vulnerable thereafter.

The older fighter had fought less than three rounds in almost five years and his heavier 16st 9oz frame - one he insisted was necessary to avoid injuries recurring - would likely have reduced his already questionable stamina.

Haye was again far slower than he was at his impressive peak, but despite questions surrounding his ability and fitness in the build-up to this fight, his power was also unexpectedly lacking.

The once-great fighter reliant on his explosive power and reflexes frequently showed signs of rust and technical decline amid Bellew’s early success in landing both left and right hands.

Dave Allen celebrates his victory over David Howe

Dave Allen celebrates his victory over David Howe

For all of his bravado, Haye became tentative, reluctant to throw because of Bellew’s superior speed until entirely confident his punches would land.

Also on the bill, Doncaster heavyweight Allen (previously W10 L2 D1) KO’d Sheffield underdog David Howe (W12 L4) 2:24 minutes into the second round.

Howe who had been boxing in the modest surrounds of Sheffield United’s Platinum Suite eight day earlier was hurt by a body shot beore Allen bundled him over.

Allen followed up with a left hand and a right that had Howe on the canvas once again.

Allen, who stopped Lukasz Rusiewicz on the Gavin McDonnell v Rey Vargas bill in Hull last month, was happy to win but disappointed by some elements of his display.