Anto Cacace given rankings boost – Team target Aussie contender


Belfast super featherweight Anto Cacace [17(7)-1(0)] has received a boost as his final charge heats up.

The Andersonstown stylist has been installed at #14 in the WBA rankings and he and his team are keen to take on another ranked fighter as soon as possible and hopefully move towards a title shot – with a provisional plan already in place.

30-year-old Cacace looks set to benefit from Al Haymon’s move into the UK market and link-up with Richard Poxon – who works closely with the Irishman’s manager Pat Magee – with this rankings news another vital cog in the machine.

Cacace, now training with Sean McCullagh, returned from over a year out of the ring in London in February, outpointing (79-74) South American featherweight champion Alan Castillo over eight rounds. Initially due to be for a rankings title, the bout was downgraded due to TV restrictions. However, WBA supervisor Jose Oliver Gomez was in attendance and was said to be impressed by ‘The Apache’.

Veteran manager Magee informed Irish-Boxing.com that he is looking to push his fighter up through the ranks and has pin-pointed #9-rated Aussie Bilel Dib – who he reveals was in the frame for the fight on the Eubank-DeGale card six weeks ago.

Such a fight would also allow for such a match-up to be for the Commonwealth title along with, potentially, a WBA rankings belt.

The current WBA ‘Super’ champion is controversial American Gervonta Davis who stopped stopped Jesus Cuellar in three rounds before blasting out last-minute replacement Hugo Ruiz in his first defence.

Like at many weights, the WBA confusingly has multiple fighters holding a claim on the title. However, while in most cases it is clear who the main man is, it’s unsure at 130lbs. Former champion Jezzrel Corrales was stripped of his ‘Super’ title on the scales back in October 2017 but, while he was defeated the following night by Alberto Machado, it was not for a so-called ‘Super’ belt. Rather than proceed with the Puerto Rican as the sole champion, a ‘Super’ title fight between Davis and Cuellar was made. The ‘other’ champion is now American Andrew Cancio who dethroned Machado, who had been viewed by some as the true WBA champion, in February.

The WBA Top 15 in full is as follows:

1. Rene Alvarado (Nicaragua)
2. Ricardo Nunez (Panama)
3. Ryan Garcia (USA)
4. Abner Mares (Mexico)
5. Joseph Diaz (USA)
6. Freddy Fonseca (Nicaragua)
7. Alberto Machado (Puerto Rico)
8. Akzhol Sulaimanbek (Kyrgyzstan)
9. Billel Dib (Australia)
10. Jayson Velez (Puerto Rico)
11. Abraham Nova (USA)
12. Roger Gutierrez (Venezuela)
13. Tony Gomez (Venezuela)
14. Anthony Cacace (Ireland)
15. Sibusiso Zingange (South Africa)

Cacace becomes the eleventh current Irish boxer ranked in the top 15 of a major organisation after Belfast bantam Ryan Burnett (WBC #2, WBA #7), Derry super bantam Tyrone McCullagh (WBO #13), Belfast feathers Carl Frampton (WBC #6, WBO #4) and Mick Conlan (WBA #9, WBO #7), Dublin super feather Jono Carroll (IBF #4), Kildare light middle Dennis Hogan (WBO #1) Dublin middle Luke Keeler (WBO #11), Donegal middle Jason Quigley (WBC #6, WBA #9), Coalisland middle Conrad Cummings (WBO #14), and Cork-Cuban cruiser Mike Perez (WBC #10, WBA #9). Then, of course, there is world champions TJ Doheny (IBF super bantam) and Katie Taylor (WBA-IBF-WBO lightweight).

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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