Eddie Hearn open to featuring Anto Cacace in future – but left unimpressed by Martin J Ward fight

Anto Cacace [15(7)-1(0)] is heading into the next chapter of his career with plenty of options following his narrow British and Commonwealth title loss.

The Belfast super featherweight was defeated on a tight unanimous decision by Martin J Ward after a cagey fight in London in July as the Matchroom boxer won the belt outright.

The Pat Magee-managed Cacace was due to feature on the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ bill in Dublin this Saturday, but has withdrawn.

However there is still plenty to play for for ‘The Apache’ though, with Ward now looking likely to vacate the two belts.

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn noted that James Tennyson is likely to fight for the Commonwealth belt against Darren Traynor in Belfast next month on the Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard in Belfast.

Top prospect Sam Bowen is next in line for the British. Who he faces, assuming Ward is to vacate, will become clearer when the BBBoC September circular is released next week.

Magee had wanted 28 year old Cacace to face Tennyson on the aforementioned card, but saw this idea fall on deaf ears. There are other avenues available though.

Due to the close nature of his loss to Ward, Cacace has found himself pushed up the continental rankings and now sits at #6 in Europe and #5 in the EU.

This belt too is set to be vacated with champion Guillaume Frenois of France closing in on a vacant IBF world title fight with Australian Billy Dib.

Mandatory challenger Juli Giner is now in negotiations to face #1 ranked Stephen Smith, who Magee has previously mentioned as a Cacace target, for the vacant belt.

Smith is promoted by Hearn, and the Matchroom chief has expressed his willingness to work with Cacace on future Belfast shows, but noted that the big Burnett-Zhakiyanov undercard is currently full.

The Essex promoter admits that the Andersonstown man pushed his fighter Ward close, and would not have quibbled if Cacace had won, but he was left unimpressed by the contest.

Hearn outlined how “I thought it was really scrappy. It was one of them where the bell went and it was like ‘meh, can you really give it either way? Neither guy really did a great deal, give it to the champion maybe, in the home corner.'”

“Could Cacace have won it? Yeah, probably. It depends if you use that argument of ‘you’ve got to win the belt off the champion.’ I don’t think that’s necessarily true, I just think it should be judged on who wins the fight. But he [Cacace] certainly didn’t go and WIN the belt, no doubt about that. If he nicked it, he nicked it.”

“I don’t think it was an impressive performance from either fighter really.”

Correction: The above article initially said that Cacace and trainer Ray Ginley had amicably parted company. This is not the case, and the two remain together. We are happy to correct this and apologise for any trouble caused.

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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