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17th May 2019

Boxing coach Dave Coldwell explains how to apply the right mindset for success

Dave Coldwell knows the importance of work ethic and determination. The Sheffield native has overcome racism and bullying to become an elite boxing coach.

Alex Roberts

Sponsored by PhD Nutrition

“Natural talent – that’s the biggest load of bollocks I’ve ever heard!”

Dave Coldwell knows the importance of work ethic, determination and getting sh*t done. The Sheffield native has outfought a number of setbacks to become one of the UK’s greatest boxing coaches.

When we met up with Coldwell at his gym in Rotherham, the PhD Nutrition ambassador took JOE’s own Dylan Evans into the ring for a coaching and sparring session.

Star of the Fight Of Your Life series, Dylan has also fought his own battles. Last year, he defeated Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer. He’s now in training for his next MMA fight, and is turning to the best athletes and coaches for motivation and guidance.

Defined by dedication

Born in the steel city to an Indian father and English mother, Coldwell experienced a tirade of racism and bullying at school. However, as a teen he took it upon himself to walk through the doors of a boxing club – a decision which still pays dividends to this day.

“My mum and dad had no money, my Dad lost his job when he was about 50 – I used to go to school with dinner tickets and things like that.

“I always thought to myself then, that my Dad worked so hard. But lost his job because someone above him didn’t do their job properly and he got made redundant.

“So I always thought that I never wanted my life to be in someone else’s hands. If I’m sh*t at this job, and my fighters aren’t any good, if I don’t have any success and I don’t make any money, that’s on me.”

You could have forgiven a teenage Coldwell for being intimidated walking into a gym for the first time. But there was only one way to work out whether he’d take to boxing – and that was to just get stuck in.

You either sink or swim, Coldwell says.

“You had to be taught to walk, you had to learn to get it up. Everything has to be coached. It’s not always natural.”

25 years on from that career-defining decision to walk into a gym for the first time, Coldwell has won titles with some of the best fighters in recent British boxing history, counting David Haye, Tony Bellow and Dereck Chisora among those to succeed under his tutelage.

Set up for success

Such is Coldwell’s personable nature, he has successfully coached others for whom boxing was not their first sport. He insists it’s all down to applying the right mindset, even if you don’t come from a boxing background.

“When you take someone on the pads you see them and think ‘yeah, they could do something’. I trained footballer Curtis Woodhouse who went on to be a British champion.

“I’ve done a corner for Wayne Bridge – Wayne Bridge is a really good boxer. If they had the time and the application, you think they could do something.”

Both Dylan and Coldwell believe being put under strenuous circumstances can actually cause you to reach into your untapped potential.

“People go on about positive thinking, but it’s overused. You can’t just be positive all day, smile all day and just think everything’s going to work out for you.

“Nine times out of 10, there’s a flip side and you have to go looking for the positive. If you focus on that, it helps you get through the sh*t.”

“If you don’t look for that little bit of a bright light, that’s when you start spiralling because you’re just focussing on the negatives.”

“When you’re in a rut, it’s very hard to get out of a rut.”

Dave Coldwell was speaking to JOE as part of the Dedication series with PhD Nutrition.