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Belfast duo to star in ITV boxing return

By David Kelly

Belfast prospects Anthony Cacace and Tommy McCarthy are immediately going to benefit from ITV's return to boxing on a regular basis, according to manager Pat Magee.

Chris Eubank jnr will headline the channel's first pay-per-view event on February 4 in London but before then ITV will screen a bill from Preston on January 21 when Cacace will feature in a WBA inter-continental title fight.

Unbeaten Cacace, who is also the mandatory challenger for the British super-featherweight title, is being lined up for a major breakthrough year by manager Magee, while his stablemate McCarthy is aiming to bounce back from a shock defeat in a British cruiserweight title eliminator.

Manager Magee believes that both men will now have the platform on which they can potentially carve out highly successful careers.

"I'm delighted to be part of ITV's return to boxing which is being driven by promoter Richard Poxon and for Anthony Cacace and Tommy McCarthy this is massive," said Magee.

Magee continued: "They are going to be given every opportunity to become stars and the rest will be up to them. Overall I think this is a major boost for boxing and for fighters who want an opportunity to become stars.

"Whereas before fighters might have been built up on ITV and then left to go to Sky, now they can stay because ITV now has a pay-per-view channel.

"Anthony is in a great position because he's the mandatory challenger for the British title and if he can come through and win his WBA inter-continental title fight next month then he's on track for the British title fight and a shot at the European title is also a possibility.

"I've been in talks with the camp of the European champion and although it has started to go cold at the moment, it can be revived down the line. The British title is being fought for in February between Martin Ward and Maxi Hughes and the winner must face Anthony before the end of April. The fight will go to purse bids and with the backing of ITV I would have the opportunity to bid to bring it to Belfast.

"Tommy will come back from his British title eliminator loss and it's just a matter of getting him the right fight. Apart from my two lads, ITV now offers more guys coming out of the amateurs the chance to have a platform on terrestrial television."

ITV was the stage for such big names as Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Prince Naseem Hamed as they made their names in the sport and the terrestrial channel dipped their toe back into the boxing waters in 2015 when screening two of Carl Frampton's World super-bantamweight title fights. Now they are seeking to screen a series of shows and the addition of a pay-per-view arm to rival Sky Box Office is an intriguing development.

The news comes on the back of BT Sport and BoxNation coming together to screen a number of bills over the coming years.

Eubank jnr is moving up to super-middleweight to fight for the lightly-regarded IBO title against Australian Renold Quinlan.

Eubank jnr said: "I feel blessed to have this opportunity to work with ITV after they first showcased my father 26 years ago and I intend to deliver more of what my father did: speed, power, accuracy, showmanship and the will to fight and beat the best of the best. Maybe even with a little bit more swagger!"

Promoter Poxon said: "It's an exciting time for British boxing. To have the opportunity to stage this event with the support of ITV is fantastic."

Belfast Telegraph

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