Anthony Cacace hails 'genuinely life-changing' British belt win with world title bid now 'realistic'
Anthony Cacace landed the British super-featherweight title on Saturday night in Birmingham and summed up the victory as "life changing".
Entering the fight as a substantial underdog, the 30-year-old stunned world ranked Sam Bowen with his guile and tenacity to rip the belt from his grasp.
Bizarrely one judge, Terry O'Connor, scored it 115-112 in favour of Bowen whose battle-scarred face, including a closed left eye, demonstrated why the other two officials, Steve Gray and Howard Foster, had it for the Belfast man 115-113.
On my card Cacace was a winner by seven rounds to four with one even.
Crucially, Bowen had a point deducted by referee Marcus McDonnell in the fifth for a deliberate head clash as his frustration shone through.
Cacace was peppering him with straight shots, switching from orthodox to southpaw and creating angles to land accurate heavy blows that made the normally all-out aggressive champion think twice before launching further attacks.
By the last third of the fight Bowen's left had closed, and while he continued to show all the heart and strength that had taken him to number six in the WBO, the class and smart boxing of Cacace proved the deciding factor and now he is aiming for the big guns of the division.
"This is genuinely life-changing for me. If I had lost this that was me because I couldn't afford to go through another training camp.
"I've two kids and one on the way next month so I had to win. I told myself I would bite down my gumshield and do all I had to win this belt," said Cacace, who admitted he will not have too long to enjoy his title winning celebrations.
"I really can't put into words what this victory means to me. I'm so happy that I've done it, I've proved to a lot of people what I can really do against a man who was so tough - I don't think there's a stronger super-featherweight in the world. But I dug in and I used my boxing and got the win.
"I have to admit, though, that when I heard the announcer say it's a split decision I thought 'oh no they can't rob me of this, surely'.
"Thankfully I got what I deserved but I've no time to celebrate because I've got a load of plastering and painting to do starting right away so I'm back down to earth with a bang!"
The next move for Cacace will be made by manager Pat Magee who admitted that the Belfast man's victory had been one of the best night's of his boxing career.
Magee believes that on the back of such a fine victory, Cacace is now looking ahead to a very exciting 2020, revealing that he has already been in contact with two world governing bodies.
"I have been in touch with the WBA and the WBO and of course Bowen was the number eight ranked contender with them. The WBA were impressed with his performance and I'm confident he will have a world rating with them.
"So this really has moved him forward and a world title shot is realistic in 2020," said Magee.
"There are also a lot of very good domestic fights in the UK, so the options are there for Anthony and it just shows again how one very good win can turn a career around.
"The main thing now is that Anthony has a good rest because that was a very tough fight.
"He can enjoy Christmas and then I would hope to have him out again in March or April.
"He has real momentum in his career and we don't want to let that go."