Glyn Rhodes believes only the threat of complacency stands in the way of Sam Sheedy becoming Commonwealth champion on Friday.
The Sheffield southpaw is favourite to beat Abolaji Rasheed at Bramall Lane’s Platinum Suite.
The Nigerian is untested at this level and has never fought outside Africa. But Sheedy, the more experienced of the two, must guard against taking a win for granted, said Rhodes, who is mindful of the effect that Azumah Nelson had - a fighter eventually recognised as the greatest African boxer of all time.
“Complacency is the one thing you have got to be careful of” said the trainer.
“He (Rasheed) is probably coming over here with everything to gain and nothing to lose.
“He is going to give it everything he has got. The one thing Sam cannot do is let his guard down for a split second. That guy is going to have fire in his stomach, he is coming over to win. If Sam is not on his game, on the night, there is going to be a spanner thrown in the works.”
Sheedy has had to train as hard for this as he did for his British title shot against Tommy Langford, said Rhodes.
“It is irrelevant who he is boxing he has to train as if it’s the hardest fight. It’s his world title fight, one mess-up and the party is over.
“He lost to Langford on a split decision and he lost to Nav Mansouri on a split decision.
“So you could say to yourself he is ‘virtually unbeaten’ because they were both controversial decisions.”
Rhodes said Rasheed’s growing maturity and confidence were major assets.
“Against Nav, he didn’t believe in himself, same as Langford. Now he knows he has done 10 rounds and 12 rounds against good opposition so the main thing he has got in his arsenal is the fact he believes in himself.
“I think that is going to make him an all round better fighter.”
Rhodes admitted his man tired against the aggressive Andrew Robinson in their 10-rounder last year, yet he still managed to get the points win.
The trainer added that Sheedy had also improved on his punching power
“Sam’s style is not a puncher’s style. He was always on his back foot, jabbing and moving. Now he doesn’t mind.
“He is mature, he is strong, he doesn’t mind planting his feet like he did against Langford. He knows he can punch. So hopefully in this fight we are going to look for a stoppage.”