Anthony Cacace’s jab hit Lyon Woodstock with so much cold reality it would be no surprise if he left Birmingham with frostbite. This was an awakening. Not only for a game Woodstock but also the British boxing fraternity of just what the Belfast man has to offer.
Cacace retained his British super-featherweight title with ease and this 21 months on from his last bout when in the same city he demonstrated his grit to overcome world rated Sam Bowen to lift the Lonsdale belt. Woodstock had previously put up solid challenges to Commonwealth champion Zelfa Barratt and Archie Sharp – currently ranked higher in the WBO ratings than the Belfast man – but this was a comprehensive beating he could never have imagined.
Such was the punishment absorbed there was a strong argument for Woodstock’s corner showing some compassion and withdrawing him from the torture by the end of the ninth round. The final three rounds were unnecessary as Cacace strolled to a unanimous victory, 117-110, 117-110 and 117-111 at the expense of a broken challenger, who was floored in the fourth from a whipping left hook.
The Belfast man not only returned home with his belt but a reputation greatly enhanced. Any further domestic challenges are, frankly, a waste of time. At 32, he needs world level opponents. Pragmatism may lead to a bout with Sharp as that could be a final eliminator for a shot at WBO super-featherweight champion Jamel Herring in 2022.
Wherever Cacace goes from here, it has to be on a path to the challenges his natural ability deserves. Ranked six by the WBA going into Saturday night’s victory, his evening got even better when it was announced that American star Gervonta Davis was vacating the WBA world super-featherweight title. That could easily lead to eliminator bouts being ordered and Cacace would be right in the mix.
From being on universal credit five months ago, Cacace’s horizon has been transformed as the world starts to truly open up.
Manager Pat Magee is already mapping out a plan along with promoter Frank Warren that would lead to a world title shot.
“I think everyone was surprised by just how good Anthony was on Saturday night. I knew it was there and he just had to show it. Now we have him pencilled in for a fight in early December and my long term goal for him is to headline the Falls Park next August at the Feile in a world title fight,” said Magee.
“Hopefully by that stage he will have won a world title because without doubt his next fight will be one that pushes him towards a world title shot. The British title has served its purpose and now he has to move on to a bigger challenge which he can’t get in the UK. I know Anthony would be up for the Archie Sharp fight but my understanding is that Sharp wants to protect his WBO ranking.
“Our focus is only on Anthony and the way he beat up Woodstock showed everyone that he is a class above domestic level. Afterwards I spoke to Woodstock’s coach who said they had no excuses because he was in the shape of his life and had great sparring with former world champion Lee Selby. But, he just said that Anthony is world class. That was the feeling from everyone and finally we are seeing the real Anthony Cacace.”
Cacace, who damaged his right hand in the fourth round, insists he is “ready for anyone” and now after years of a stop-start career he seems to be on course for opportunities to fulfil his true potential.
“What I need is momentum,” said Cacace. “That has always been missing. With more fights you’re going to see much more from me. I’d been out of the ring a long time, otherwise I think I’d have stopped him but credit to Woodstock because he is one hard man.”