Michael Coffie: New US heavyweight prospect vows to ‘go to England and bring the title back to the US!’

Michael Coffie won a battle of unbeaten US heavyweights and now says: “I like how Anthony Joshua carries himself. And Tyson Fury – I like the roughness he displays – but he wouldn’t be able to do that to me!”

James Dielhenn

Michael Coffie upset Darmani Rock, who is a decade younger, in a fight between undefeated American heavyweights – he has burst onto the scene with the three-round destruction and now tells Sky Sports that he’s the US prospect to keep an eye on…

Your breakthrough win was seen as a big upset…

On paper it may look that way. But I felt like I could beat him. I felt like I was levels above him. I already had the confidence that I needed.

Did you see the flaws in Darmani Rock despite the praise he had received?

I understood his strengths but I understood his weaknesses more than other people did. Maybe that’s why he was touted.

I looked at his weaknesses as more significant than his strengths.

He is quick-handed and has skill but his weakness is that he falls in. He gets too lax on the tie-ups – he expects to just hug and wait for the ref to break us up. Also, his fluctuation in weight – he lost 40lbs for this fight but that can be a bad thing because he lost strength too.

Did the fight go exactly to plan?

I felt like I would get him out in the second half of the fight. My plan was to work his body until he was ready to go.

But after the second round, he abandoned his game-plan and started to just lay on me – he didn’t like those shots to the body.

That’s when I knew it was time.

How do you measure up to the other US prospects?

I am levels above them. I don’t want to jump the gun or toot my own horn. But I’m not like these guys who say they don’t study boxing – not a day goes by where I don’t watch boxing.

With Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr on the side-lines, is there room for a US heavyweight to burst through?

Definitely. I recognise that and will take full advantage.

Did your military background help you build the resilience needed inside the ring?

It plays an integral role into who I am, inside and outside of the ring.

You had a limited amateur career but have sparred with top US names…

Deontay Wilder, Adam Kownacki, Tomasz Adamek, Marco Huck, Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, Trevor Bryan.

Bryan played a big role in preparation for my fight. We put some hard rounds in.

No amount of experience from amateur boxing can equate to the experience I got doing hundreds of rounds with champions, former champions and high-level contenders.

Trevor Bryan won the WBA ‘regular’ title against Bermane Stiverne – can he make an impact?

For sure. I know this from personal experience. I felt for Stiverne every time I saw Bryan’s jab get stuck on his face. He has a nice, stiff jab. He threw it over 100 times.

You first sparred Wilder in 2017 – was that a fiery experience?

I was still an amateur. I went with my eyes and ears wide open, ready to absorb knowledge from everyone in the camp, directly from Wilder or his trainers.

How has Wilder changed?

Inside the ring? Not much. He lives up to the persona of having a devastating right hand. It is what they say it is.

Outside the ring? I’ve had a chance to be around him a few times. In his camps he actually goes out with [the sparring partners], he talks to us, he hangs out. I got to know him as a man. He’s a cool dude. He gave me an opportunity so will forever be cool with me.

He is a warrior. He is moving in silence which is a good thing. Use what is being said about you as motivation.

You are 34 already – is time running out?

The UK has a big, strong heavyweight right now who is a year older, Joe Joyce, who showed the world that age ain’t nothing but a number because he beat a young, strong, active Daniel Dubois.

He beat him relatively easily just with a jab. I felt like they weren’t respecting the things Joyce does right – they were focused on what he does wrong.

What is the career plan now?

The plan is to get better every fight. I haven’t got time to waste. I won’t take steps backwards. Who is better than Darmani Rock? I want to fight that guy next. So on and so on, until I get to the promised land.

I want to be the one who goes to England and brings the title back to the US!

I like how Anthony Joshua carries himself. And Tyson Fury – I like the roughness he displays – but he wouldn’t be able to do that to me!


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