By Gylnn Evans for Boxnation
Unbeaten Belfast super-featherweight Anthony Cacace will be keen to make up some lost ground on the bonanza bill in the Titanic Quarter of his home city on Saturday evening.
The highly regarded 25-year-old – a multiple All Ireland junior champion – has cruised to eight pro wins since debuting in February 2012; three by stoppage, the other five complete shut outs!
The kid they call ‘The Apache’ due to his Mexican style body attack annexed the Irish title by wasting West Ham’s Mickey Coveney inside a round in just his fifth paid gig. However, a frustrating stint in the US, restricted the Ulster starlet to just one four start during the past 18 months.
Catch the whole promotion – headed by Carl Frampton’s challenge to IBF super-bantanweight champion Kiko Martinez (pictured below) and also featuring top Irish prospects Eamonn O’Kane, Jamie Conlan, Marco McCullough and Conrad Cummings – live and exclusive in the UK by tuning into BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 7pm on fight night.
Recently, boxing writer Glynn Evans interviewed the laidback and talkative prospect to gather some background information. Name: Anthony Cacace Weight: Super-featherweight Born: West Belfast Age: 25 Family background: I’ve two sisters and two brothers. I’m the middle kid. My dad was a long distance runner, the others were into the Gaelic sports. I’ve one daughter Cadhla who’s six and I live with her and the missus in Andersonstown, west Belfast. However, presently I’m training a lot with Shane McGuigan at his gym in south London Trade: A sponsorship deal enables me to train full time as a boxer. Before that, I did a bit of plastering. Nickname: ‘The Apache’. Barry McGuigan gave it to me. What age did you become interested in boxing and why? I grew up in a big boxing area. From about the age of ten, I used to love watching Ricky Hatton on TV. That’s what first got my interest. I took the sport up actively when I was about 11. What do you recall of your amateur career? I started out at the Oliver Plunkett boxing club where I was coached by Patsy McAllister, a great man who still does an awful lot of good work within the community. Around the age of 18, I moved to the Holy Trinity gym in Turf Lodge where I was trained for three years by Micky Hawkins and his son Michael Junior. After that, I went back to Oliver Plunkett. I had roughly 160 amateur bouts and must have won at least 140 of them. I only lost seven times domestically in all the time I was boxing. I won seven All-Ireland titles at various (junior) age groups and a couple of Ulster Senior titles. I also won three Four Nations (junior) gold medals plus one silver and one bronze. In two of those finals I beat Lewis Rees from Wales who’s doing well as a pro himself now (unbeaten in ten). I also boxed Billy Joe Saunders in a Four Nations final but lost on a count back that left me raging! Tom Costello, another who’s doing well in the pros now beat me in the NABCs. I boxed a lot of good boys. The only time I went in the All-Ireland seniors, I got to the final when I was just 17. I got beaten by (2008 European bronze medallist) Ross Hickey from County Wicklow. At least half of my amateur fights must have been in an international singlet. I won a gold medal at a European Union junior tournament plus medals at various round-robins.I also boxed in the European Juniors in Budapest and represented Northern Ireland over in Australia. I boxed in Washington (USA) for my club. I enjoyed the amateurs but regret not putting my heart and soul into it. I sort of gave up a bit between the ages of 19-21, wasn’t doing it properly, got lackadaisical. I’d been competing evenly against good lads on top funding when I was just 17. If I’d done it properly, I’m sure I could’ve made the Olympics. Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? I just really loved the game. When my wee daughter arrived, I thought that boxing was the best way to make a name for myself, and money for my family’s future.
Tell us about your back up team: For the last six weeks I’ve been managed by Barry McGuigan and I’m to be promoted by Cyclone Promotions. Barry puts on all the top shows in Belfast these days so he’s the man to be with if you want to get your name out there and showcase your talent.
Prior to that, I spent eight months in Philadelphia with Tom Moran but it’s very hard to make a name for yourself over in the States. You need to establish yourself here first, then go over. I’m trained by Barry’s son Shane at their gym in Battersea. We actually boxed together in the Ulster championships one year. I think Shane got beaten in the final. It helps that he boxed himself.
For a 25-year-old, Shane (above, right) has great knowledge. There’s meaning behind everything he does. He really knows the science behind conditioning and nutrition. A guy called Daryl Richardson helps me out with my strength and conditioning.
What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy?I train twice a day Monday to Saturday and rest on Sundays. I run five or six miles most days, mostly mornings, but I’ll run evenings if I know I have to spar that day. After warming up at the gym, I’ll usually do six rounds on the pads with Shane, three rounds on the body bag and two very quick rounds on the punch bag. After that, I’ll do a bit of ab(dominal) work, then stretch out. Shane has recently introduced me to strenuous strength and conditioning work. I’ve noticed the benefits, big time. It’s really hard work, no cutting corners. It kills my legs but I’m loving it. I usually spar a couple of times a week with good pros like Danny Connors, Ricky Boylan, Iain Weaver and Mitch Buckland. My favourite part would be a wee bit of pad work. That really ups your fitness level and forces you to battle through hard times. I enjoy all of my training schedule, really. The only bit I dislike is the dieting and making weight. Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I can fight both ways but I’m more of a boxer. Being almost 5ft 10(in), I’m very tall for super-feather so it’s to my advantage to try to keep the fight at range. I switch hit a lot. My best shots are probably the right hand and a left hook to the body. Hopefully, you’ll see those on Saturday night. What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? I actually believe I have most things right now. It’s just a case of developing my engine for the latter rounds; managing to get through those eight and ten round fights. What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? In the pros, your opponent is no longer looking to score a point, he’s looking to tear your head off! You have to be constantly on alert, ready to do the same back to him. Obviously the fights are longer and there are a lot of very hard journeymen in the pros, capable of taking a lot of punishment. Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? Tough question. Ross Hickey was the only boxer to beat me twice so I’ll give it to him. He was a slimy, tricky, rangy southpaw. He basically ran away for three rounds and I just couldn’t catch him. All time favourite fighter: Ricky Hatton. I really loved his style; an absolute warrior who just kept coming. At school, I did my ICT project on him! All time favourite fight: Diego Corrales against Jose Luis Castillo I. They tried to murder each other. I loved it! Which current match would you most like to see made? Carl Frampton against Scott Quigg. Carl would knock him out, no problem. What is your routine on fight day? I’ll be woken by my alarm and I’ll get up early. Previously, I’ve had to eat as little as possible because I’ve weighed in on the day of the fight. But for Saturday’s fight, I weigh-in the day before which will be a luxury. After weigh-ins I tend to eat chicken and veg and re-hydrate but I’m always conscious not to bloat myself. I generally don’t do much on the day of a fight other than lie down and chill out with my family. I’ll watch TV and try to think as little as possible about the fight until a couple of hours beforehand. Every fighter has nerves and they help you to perform, keep you alert about what’s going to be coming at you. I usually stay pretty calm in the changing rooms and have a few quick bursts on the pads to build a sweat before going to work. Afterwards, I generally watch the remaining fights. I don’t have a drink very often. Entrance music: I’ve not thought of one for Saturday yet but before I’ve used ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC. What are your ambitions as a boxer? Primarily to give my family a nice house and a nice life. But, after winning titles in the amateurs, I’d also love to become a British champion then take things from there. How do you relax? I’ve a wee mobile home over in Kilkeel, County Down and I spend a lot of time there, taking it easy. There’s not much there but I have a lot of barbecues and do a lot of fishing. Football team: I like to watch it on the tele but don’t really have a team. I like Cliftonville in the Irish League. I used to play the GAA sports but now only really watch boxing. Read: I’m not a big reader. The only book I’ve read is Barry McGuigan’s autobiography but I only got half way through! Music: Indie. I like a band called ‘The 1975’. Films/TV: I like my thrillers. My favourite films would be ‘Green Mile’ and ‘The Butterfly Effect’. On tele, I like to watch ‘Tipping Point’ and ‘The Chase’.
Aspiration in life: To live a good and healthy life, to live in a nice place and to become a champion.
Motto: Winners Never Quit. Quitters Never Win!