'Apache' Anto chases glory as Shane McGuigan hails potential
Anthony Cacace has had his fair share of disillusionment with boxing, whether as an amateur or professional but now having linked up with coach Shane McGuigan, the Belfast man has no doubt he can climb the boxing ladder all the way to the very top.
Cacace, a winner of three Four Nations gold medals as well as silver and bronze as an amateur, took two years away from the sport before turning professional – chalking up eight straight wins against moderate opposition, but hasn't boxed since last October and felt his career was heading for a dead end.
Now, Cyclone Promotions boss Barry McGuigan has added him to the supporting bill of the Titanic Showdown card headlined by Carl Frampton's World title clash with IBF super-bantamweight king Kiko Martinez on September 6 and the 25-year-old believes it can be the perfect stage to re-launch his career.
"It was getting to the stage where I was wondering just where my career was going and I considered packing it in," said super-featherweight Cacace, who will ease back into the ring with a four rounder against Poland's Dawid Knade and a new nickname, 'Apache'.
"But having been in London with Shane and Barry McGuigan I have been given a new lease of life. I didn't know just how serious you needed to take this business until I came here. Training here has been like nothing I have ever experienced before.
"I really believe that working with Shane and Barry I can fight for the British title next year and go on and win the European title and who knows after that. I've been here six weeks and it has just been fantastic, a real eye opener.
"Even just training alongside a future World champion in Carl Frampton is inspirational. You watch the guy and you realise what it takes to get to that level. I'm being pushed and pushed."
Former world champion McGuigan has no doubt that with the right guidance Cacace can become a real force in the super-featherweight division.
"Anthony Cacace is one of the most exciting undiscovered Irish talents I have seen in recent years. He's been off the radar of the majority of fans but I have no doubt that with regular fights he will soar and become a major hit with fight fans," said Barry.
"He's a wicked puncher and has very good skill as well. He has the ability to cut through the British and European super-featherweight scene in no time. He's had a difficult time of late, hasn't had many fights but we have been able to help him get into good shape and give him a fight on the Titanic Showdown bill and if we can help him get his career back on track, then that would be great.
"Having watched him work with some very good guys in the gym, some of whom are a lot heavier than him, I can see that he has huge potential.
"He still needs to work a good bit on his stamina but I can see that he has responded to the way that Shane and I have pushed him. So he has this fight at Titanic and we'll see where he goes from there."
Cacace admits that he wasn't prepared for the intense input from coach Shane – who has been honing Frampton for his showdown with Spaniard Martinez.
"I was shocked by the knowledge that Shane has. Whether it's diet, conditioning or boxing, for a guy who is 25 he has great insight," added Cacace. "He has shown me what I have to do to go to the next level.
"Fighting on this bill is just amazing, it's going to be an historic night and for me it's just the start. I want to move quickly up the rankings, I'll fight anyone at super-feather."