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The 13th Round: Apache Cacace is now the Chief

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If you haven’t already, you should read Kevin Byrne’s interview with Brian Magee from Saturday. Belfast’s former European super middleweight champion, now a trainer, spoke of the need for knockouts and excitement in modern day boxing and it is a mantra he is instilling in his two boxers, Tommy McCarthy and Anto Cacace.

Super featherweight Cacace was in action on Saturday night in Wigan and he certainly seemed to take this to heart. In what was meant to be a rust-shaker of a bout after nearly eleven months out, The Apache took just one round to dispatch durable journeyman Jamie Quinn. Durable is almost an understatement for Quinn who had never been stopped in 32 fights, but had his jaw-broken by the venomous punching of the Belfast man. There was no feeling out for Cacace, no getting rounds in the bag, he was a superior boxer to Quinn and he got in there and showed it. Job done.

As Irish boxing fans have been told for years, Andersonstown southpaw Cacace is one of the most naturally talented fighters produced on this island in recent times. During his stint with Cyclone Promotions he was regularly described by the McGuigans as being more talented than two-weight World champion Carl Frampton. He was the jewel in the crown of Emerald Promotions. He was a hardcore fight fan favourite.

As Jonny Stapleton articulated last week, Cacace now has a path to the British title and beyond under Pat Magee, and we may finally see him fulfill his talent. However, it is not just his set-up that has changed, Cacace has changed by himself.

Obviously, and evidenced by his fight on Saturday, Cacace is perhaps more aggressive and finish-focused than before. In his post-fight interview the 27 year old admitted that he had carried previous opponents has he looked to build his experience. His apprenticeship served, and Irish and Celtic titles in the bag, Cacace is now a fully-fledged contender and soon-to-be star.

The conviction exhibited by Cacace after his win is notable. Usually quietly-confident albeit with full belief of his talents, he is now outwardly confident. He is the big fish now, he’s not afraid say that he is the best in the British division, he’s not afraid to say he’d beat anyone and that he doesn’t care who he faces.

Whether this vocal self-belief will have any effect on the performances of Cacace, who always knew he was talented, remains to be seen – but the rest of the division will certainly take notice.

Cacace demanded to fight for the British title next, a belt for which he is the mandatory challenger. For a man who has had so many false-starts in his career, it now seems that he is set for that big fight. His Celtic title win against Ronnie Clark in Scotland last year was impressive, but it’s time for the next step.

This Saturday Andy Townend and Martin J Ward will clash for the vacant British 130lbs crown on the Golovkin-Brook pay-per-view undercard in London. Matchroom’s Ward is expected to prevail and it is assumed that the winner, whoever it may be, will be ordered to face Cacace within 90 days. Neither fighter will instill fear in the Irishman, not many do. Indeed the Belfast boxer of Italian descent will most likely be hoping for a Ward win so he can strut his stuff in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

With a path clearly set out, Cacace has a tangible goal to focus on and he’s now ready in every aspect to enter the big leagues.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie