STANDING at six feet eight inches tall, David Howe cuts an intimidating, imposing figure in the ring.
But trainer Chris Smedley is now calling on the Darnall puncher to start fulfilling his promise in the heavyweight division, starting against Hastings Rasani at the Don Valley Stadium tonight.
Howe has sparred with Richard Towers and Carl Baker in preparation for the bout and Smedley expects the 30-year-old to rise to the occasion.
Smedley told The Star: “Rasani is a durable opponent and caused a few upsets over the years so David must be on his toes.
“David has worked really hard the last eight weeks. He is in good shape and all we are trying to do now is get him to be a little more confident.
“He has got a great attitude in training; he is very enthusiastic and gives his all at everything. I am happy with the way he is progressing and want him to move to the next level.
“The ability is there. We have just got to try and get into his head and make him belief in himself a bit more.”
Since turning professional two-and-a-half-years ago, Howe has recorded five victories in six bouts.
Smedley has worked closely with Howe on developing his defensive technique and improving the giant boxer’s footwork.
“It is a slow process,” he said. “It is not something you can learn overnight. David has sparred with Richard (Towers) and Carl (Baker) and learned a lot off them. He is really keen to add to what he has already got. He has enjoyed training and when that is the case, you are likely to perform better.”
It is Smedley’s son, Nicki, who tops the bill.
Seven fighters pencilled in to meet him have pulled out, says Sheffield promoter Dennis Hobson. He now boxes Bheki Moyo, whose nickname of Becks-Tiger is not borne out by a winless 20-fight record - he should be a pussy cat for Smedley, who returns to the ring after just one fight in three years.
Hobson says: “Nicki has persuaded me he is serious about his boxing and we are going to push him quick towards a crack at the English light welterweight title.
“He was the one destined to be next on the conveyor belt after Clinton Woods; he has to show now that he is the real deal.”
Doncaster’s Andy Roberts takes on Hungarian Ignac Kassai, Jamie Ward boxes Retford’s Lee Nicholson. Sheffield’s Reagan Denton hopes to box for the first time since 2006.
n Towers takes on Brazilian Daniel Bispo at Bolton tomorrow.