Classy Anto Cacace Storms Past Michael Magnesi

Anto Cacace is the new IBO World Champion following a stellar win tonight in Manchester.

The Belfast super featherweight outpointed Italy’s Michael Magnesi on the undercard of the Joseph Parker v Joe Joyce PPV at the AO Arena.

Cacace was the more consistent boxer throughout a competitive twelve rounds and took a richly deserved points win.

Following a tight start, the Andersonstown switch hitter pulled away down the stretch to take the win.

A fight built through social media, the Lou DiBella-backed Magnesi was willing to answer the call from Cacace – or, at least, his vocal support. In hindsight, the Lazio fighter probably regrets this.

Magnesi came to the ring unbeaten and possessing the lightly-regarded IBO belt but entered the fight an underdog with the bookies. Having fought just once outside of Italy and with his three title fights coming against underwhelming opposition, this was perhaps not a surprise.

Indeed the surprise was arguably the confidence of Magnesi and his team throughout the build-up and fight week, but the Italian proved a game foe – but not enough to disrupt the enigmatic Irishman

For Cacace, tonight was a long-awaited major fight. Since defeating Sam Bowen for the British title in November 2019, the Belfast boxer has boxed just once – his long-delayed defence versus Leon Woodstock in August 2021.

A fight versus Jhonathan Romero on the Fury-Whyte undercard was meant to kick this year off for Cacace but visa problems intervened and it almost seemed as if the mercurial talent may step away from the sport before the Magnesi opportunity emerged.

The Italian did put the pressure on early and perhaps won his fair share of the first six rounds but ‘The Apache’ took over from half-way.

Fighting hard, Cacace hurt Magnesi at the close of the eighth before pulling away down the stretch.

A split decision, which most disagreed with , the final scores read 116-112, 112-116, and 117-111 in favour of Cacace who moves to 20(7)-1(0). Magnesi drops to 21(13)-1(0) following his first career defeat.

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