Unbeaten rising heavyweight Michael Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) will look to continue his ascent up the heavyweight rankings when he takes on former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs) on July 31 in the main event on FOX from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
“I’m looking to make a big statement,” said Coffie. “I want people to look at this fight and see my calmness. I want it to look like I’m the veteran and he’s the prospect. If he has belief in himself in the beginning of the fight, he’s going to start fast. It’s my job to take that away from him.“
In his last fight, Coffie scored an explosive knockout over previously unbeaten Darmani Rock live on FOX. The triumph was Coffie’s best win to date as a pro, a feat he will look to repeat as he steps up again against Washington.
“I showed in the Rock fight that regardless of the amount of years of experience that someone has over me, you can’t count me out,” said Coffie. “I definitely displayed poise and calmness and I’ve shown that I can put you down with any shot.”
Coffie has continued to train under the guidance of his head coach Josue Aguilar, as the two have put in the work in Orlando, Florida to continue to show improvement fight after fight. For this fight, Coffie has used some new techniques, combined with lessons learned from days sparring Deontay Wilder and Adam Kownacki, to hopefully put on his best performance to date.
“We’ve been working on strategy and how we’re going to expose Washington’s tendencies,” said Coffie. “We’ve been adding pool training and focusing a lot on breathing and explosiveness. I’ve been sparring with young, fast guys to work on my reflexes. I’m combining that with what I learned from Wilder and Kownacki, who really helped me with my range and distance, plus showing me the importance of conditioning.”
The 35-year-old Coffie got a late start into the sport after serving in the U.S. Marines prior to a successful amateur career that saw him put on standout performances at the New York Golden Gloves and Metro Championships. Coffie believes that his unorthodox entry into the sport will actually be a benefit as his pro career continues to burgeon.
“The biggest obstacle I’ve faced as a pro has been that people keep talking about my age,” said Coffie. “That has nothing to do with your boxing ability. If you keep yourself in shape, age is not a big thing. I’ve taken less damage at this point than other people my age who’ve gotten to this point. I also have a strong mentality and I know when it’s time to lock in for a fight. Life experience in general has shown me what I can become.”
As he enters this latest challenge, Coffie will look to take advantage of the opportunity headlining on FOX and deliver the fans a great fight in the style of some of the sport’s all-time greats.
“It’s still surreal to be in this position,” said Coffie. “When I decided to start boxing, I did not know that this would be happening so fast. I’m going to show the fans a piston jab. I want to give the feel of Sonny Liston, Larry Holmes and George Foreman. This is a combat sport, so expect blood and big shots on July 31.”