Anthony Cacace finally had a marque moment in the ring as he beat Sam Bowen to claim the British title tonight.
Such is the level of esteem the super featherweight is held in – particularly within Belfast boxing circles – that it would possibly be a stretch to claim the BT Sports broadcast win was a potential fulfilling one, but it was massive for ‘The Apache’ nonetheless.
It’s vindication for those who regularly herald Cacace’s talent and for the fighter himself.
Not to mention it’s a significant title win in terms of prestige and in terms of the opportunities it may lead to.
However, for now Cacace, his team and his supporters will be just rejoicing in the kind of victory that feels like it was a long time coming.
The victory was deserved, but didn’t come easy, as the 30-year-old had to battle it out with heavy puncher Bowen on occasion, nor did it come without some controversy as it came via a split decision.
Howard Foster and Steve Gray ruled in favour of Cacace 115-113 while, Terry O’Connor, who has been criticized for his scoring of Callum Smith versus John Ryder this week, had it 115-112 for Bowen.
This was Cacace’s second real TV breakthrough chance, the first coming against Martin J Ward back in 2017. The Belfast fighter fought for the British and Commonwealth straps on that night, but lost a close decision.
At the time Cacace argued he felt he did enough to win, but the general consensus was he could have done more to make certain of victory.
It was clear the former Irish and BBBofC Celtic champion wasn’t going to have any regrets this time out. He was expected to use his skill set against a physically imposing fighter, but from round one there were times were Cacace stood and traded.
The first four rounds were surprisingly physical and action packed with Cacace possibly shading the majority via cleaner work. The Belfast fighter also damaged the eye of the champion in the second and it closed that bit further every round.
After a number of warnings Bowen was then docked a point for the use of his head and it looked as if Cacace had opened up a first half lead.
Bowen, who did take some of noted puncher Cacace’s best shots, enjoyed a good sixth and his team felt it was a momentum changer.
The Champion continued to plow forward, but Cacace consulted his skill set as the fight drew to a close. In his first fight under Harry Hawkins the Pat Magee managed fighter began to use his jab, foot work and brain down the stretch.
Bowen to his credit was still full of effort and industry, but despite tiring during the championships rounds, Cacace was still out boxing his foe.
The scorecards were a bit close for some’s liking, whilst the fact it was a split upset more. However, Cacace won’t care, as he returns to Belfast with the British title and an improved world ranking.