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Joe Calzaghe’s coach, father Enzo dies at 69

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Joe Calzaghe celebrates with his father and trainer Enzo after beating Bernard Hopkins in 2008 in Las Vegas. AFP

Joe Calzaghe’s coach, father Enzo dies at 69

Enzo Calzaghe, who coached his son Joe to two boxing world titles at different weights and an undefeated 46-bout career despite never boxing himself, has died aged 69.

The Sardinian-born trainer also coached Gavin Rees and Enzo Maccarinelli to the WBA light welterweight and WBO cruiserweight titles respectively.

However, it will be the remarkable association with his own son, “The Pride of Wales”, for which he will forever be remembered.

“The family are devastated to have to announce the death of our be-loved Enzo,” the Calzaghes said in a statement.

“Enzo led an incredible life both inside and outside of the boxing gym and his loss is a devastating one for the entire Calzaghe family.”

Enzo Calzaghe began his training career in very modest surroundings.

His first training facilities were in a shed in the south Wales town of Newbridge, but it evolved into one of the finest developers of boxing talent in the United Kingdom.

Joe won world titles at two weights, retiring as the undisputed super-middleweight world champion having held the WBO version for almost 11 years. He was also the Ring world light heavyweight world champion, beating two legends in Bernard Hopkins and then defending it against Roy Jones Jr.

Calzaghe’s choice of England and indeed settling ultimately in Wales came about when he was backpacking round Europe after doing his national service in Italy and scratching a living busking he alighted in the south coast city of Southampton.

He heard the train announcer say there was a train leaving for Cardiff.

“Sod going home – let’s try Cardiff,” he said.

Fulsome tributes poured in for Calzaghe – who won the prestigious BBC’s coach of the year and Ring magazine coach of the year in 2007 – including from former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew.

“What a man! My thoughts are with @RealJoeCalzaghe and his family right now. Your Dad was a master coach who created a style that you both made unbeatable. Salute the legendary Enzo. #RIPEnzoCalzaghe,” tweeted Bellew.

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