Anthony Cacace confident ahead of biggest fight of life with British champion Martin J Ward
IT'S the biggest fight of his career, on the biggest stage of his life and Anthony Cacace knows he can't fluff his lines when the bell goes on Saturday night.
The Belfast super-featherweight meets Martin J Ward at Wembley Arena with the British and Commonwealth titles on the line in a fight that will be shown live on ITV. The affable west Belfast fighter has waited years for this breakthrough and knows he has to “grab it with both hands”.
“It's the biggest fight by a mile,” he said.
“At this stage I'm either gonna to do it or I'm not gonna to do it.
“I'm 28 so if I'm not gonna push on now, I'll never push on. This is my opportunity and I have to grab it with both hands.”
He added with a laugh: “This is the biggest platform I've been on, being live on ITV, so there's no pressure at all! Let's hope the atmosphere doesn't get to me and I produce what I know I can do.
“I'm definitely confident, I'm not cocky about it, I'm quietly confident because I know I can hurt him.
“We head over on Thursday morning, weigh-in on Friday and do the face-to-face stuff. I'm buzzing, I really am and it's all about taking it easy this week and not over-doing anything.
“It's all about producing, there's no room for making any mistakes with this lad. Everything needs to be done perfectly but I believe that, if I wanted to, I could my hands up and march forward and hurt him. We'll see on the night.”
Unbeaten Ward (17-0-2) has won his last seven on-the-trot and reigned supreme against domestic rivals including Andy Townend, Ronnie Clark and Maxi Hughes. If he beats Cacace he'll look to join the world title mix before the end of the year, but ‘the Apache' intends to take his spot and force his way up the ladder.
The omens in training have been very encouraging. Working with coach Ray Ginley, tough sparring has left him razor sharp and he says that making the super-featherweight limit (which has been “a nightmare” in the past) has been relatively straightforward.
“This camp has been the best one yet for me,” he said.
“I've never made weight as easy as I have this time around.
“It's been perfect and I feel good, sparring went well – they were hard spars and that's exactly what I need.
“I the past making super-featherweight has been a nightmare but this time, I know it's a serious fight and I can't do things the way I did them before.
“I feel great. At the McGuigans I was doing a lot of weights and I was sitting really high during the camps but I'm not doing weights this time, I'm doing very little and I've found a big difference.
Cacace-Ward is part of an action-packed undercard supporting a main event that sees Chris Eubank jnr take on Arthur Abraham for the IBO world super middleweight crown. Cacace admits he'll have to overcome pre-fight jitters on Saturday night.
“Of course I get nerves,” he said.
“I think a lot, I over-think boxing but I believe that works in my favour because I don't underestimate anybody – whether it's journeymen or whoever. I never underestimate anyone because, with 8oz gloves, one punch can change a fight. I know Ward is strong, I know he's fit and I know he's sharp so I have to work on my timing – timing my shots is the biggest factor.
“I think he throws the same combinations a lot – double-jab/right hand or the right hand/left hook - so it's all about making him miss for the first couple of rounds, letting him work and blow a gasket because I know I've got the power to hurt him in the later rounds.”
KATIE Taylor will make her US debut on the undercard of the Mikey Garcia versus Adrien Broner light-welterweight showdown in New York on July 29.
Taylor, who bases her training in Connecticut with coach Ross Enamai, says she will realise a dream on the Barclays Center card which will be shown live on Sky Sports.
“I'm really excited about boxing in the US because I've been training in Connecticut [witht] for all my fights to date,” said the Bray native.
“It's great to actually have a fight over here and especially on such a big card.
“The Barclays Center is a fantastic arena. I was there to see the DeGale/Jack fight in January, that was a great fight and the Broner/Garcia fight is another terrific match-up so it's brilliant to get the opportunity to be part of that event.
“It's great to see two top fighters like Broner and Garcia willing to fight each other. That's what boxing should be about, the best fighting the best and that's really something I want to do throughout my career as well.”
Taylor last fought competitively in the US a decade ago before going on to Olympic Games and World Championships glory for Ireland.
“I was invited to take part in a demonstration bout at the Men's World Championships in Chicago,” she explained.
“It was part of the campaign to convince the IOC to include women's boxing in the Olympics.
“I stopped my opponent inside a round that night but hopefully I'll get the chance to get a few more rounds under my belt at The Barclays Center and showcase my ability to a new audience.
“I'm sure that there's going to be lots of Irish fans in the crowd on July 29th and I can't wait to hear them cheering me on.”
JOSH Taylor reckons Edinburgh Castle would be the perfect venue for his attempt to dethrone Ricky Burns as the king of Scottish boxing.
The Prestonpans puncher landed the biggest win of his short 10-fight professional career with a stunning seventh-round stoppage of Londoner Ohara Davies.
The victory saw the unbeaten Commonwealth champion add Ohara's WBC Silver strap to his collection as he put himself firmly on the path towards potential world prizes.
But first of all he has targeted an all-Scottish showdown with former three-time world champion Burns.
Asked if a fight with the Coatbridge boxer should be staged in the east or the west, Taylor - who now has nine knock-out successes - said: "Alex Arthur gave Ricky a chance when he was up-and-coming, so why can't Ricky do that for me?
"I think it'd be a great fight. I'd love to fight at Edinburgh Castle, the SSE Hydro, Hampden or even Easter Road - anywhere outside would be great. The castle would be a real iconic setting although you don't know with the weather here. But it would be a sell-out anywhere."
Burns, who was ringside at the Braehead Arena to cheer on friend and sparring partner Davies, claims to be in talks to take on Manchester's Anthony Crolla in October, but has challenged Taylor's promoter Barry McGuigan to come up with a package big enough to make him think again.
But after grabbing the victory which is likely to propel him into the top 15 of the WBC rankings, Taylor reckons his compatriot has only one option.
"When this fight with Davies was getting talked about, he said he wouldn't entertain a fight with me as I'd need to get through his team-mate first," he said.
"Well I've fought him and blown him away. I respect Ricky as a person and a fighter. He's done great for boxing and he's a nice guy but I think the time has come for me to fight him.
"It would be a massive fight for Scotland and I think the Scottish fans deserve a massive fight like that."