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Anthony Cacace: There's this strange idea boxers are rolling in it but that's just fantasy

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Belfast super featherweight Anthony Cacace  during a training session at the Emerald gym in West Belfast.

Belfast super featherweight Anthony Cacace during a training session at the Emerald gym in West Belfast.

Belfast super featherweight Anthony Cacace during a training session at the Emerald gym in West Belfast.

British champion Anthony Cacace had just signed a lucrative promotional contract when Covid-19 turned the world upside down but now the Belfast man admits he needs to find another job to keep food on the table.

Cacace, blessed with abundant natural talent, produced an upset victory over Sam Bowen to land the British super-featherweight title at the end of November - finally starting to show some of the potential he had to go a long way in the sport.

Manager Pat Magee managed to agree a deal with promoter Frank Warren, who had lined up opportunities for Cacace on the proposed Belfast shows headlined by Carl Frampton challenging World champion Jamel Herring in June and Michael Conlan at Falls Park.

A first defence of his title will have to wait and so - just like every other professional fighter - he is having to deal with a severe lack of income.

"It's a rough time for every boxer and I know other lads just like me who are now having to get a job to get through this. If boxers don't fight they don't get paid, it's as simple as that and most are not earning big money," says 31-year-old Cacace.

"The money I got for the Bowen fight didn't take long to run out so like for many people it's a tough, tough time. It seems a lot of people have this strange idea that boxers are rolling in it but that's just a fantasy, it's not real life.

"My manager Pat has been good, helping me out a bit but when you've three kids to feed the pressure is on so I'll have to see what work is available until this madness comes to an end.

"I'm just grateful that I had that win before Christmas because at least when I come back I've got a belt to defend and it's one that is highly regarded so the chance will be there to move quickly towards a world title shot."

While trying to remain positive, Cacace - ranked nine by the World Boxing Association and 15 by the World Boxing Organisation - admits he is suppressing a real sense of frustration after putting himself in such a good position with the victory over Bowen. The importance of the victory to him personally as well as what it meant to his career was summed up in the week following his defeat of Bowen.

"When I finally got my hands on that title my confidence just shot through the roof. I had such a buzz from it that it was all a bit surreal… I literally couldn't sleep because of the buzz of it and I want that buzz back," he added.

"I didn't go out drinking after the win, I just had some good craic but I couldn't sleep because it meant that much to me and even in the weeks afterwards the buzz was there - and it was there with my mates Tommy McCarthy and Tyrone McKenna who had their title wins as well.

"I feel that because of that experience I will be a better fighter, there is much more to come and with every fight I will gain more and more experience so when the chance to fight for a world title does come I'll be ready.

"Of course the frustration comes from time to time but I'm able to punch the bag a bit and go for some runs but I do miss the gym and being around friends.

"But this virus outbreak has also given me a chance to spend more quality time with kids Cadhla, Killian and Eva so I'm enjoying that… and just hoping for some sort of normality to return for everybody."

Belfast Telegraph