Anto Cacace British title rumble with Sam Bowen bound for Cardiff in November
THE ON-OFF British super-featherweight title rumble between Anthony Cacace and Sam Bowen now looks set for November 16 with Cardiff the likely venue.
The fight was originally scheduled for London on July 13 but then moved back to the Michael Conlan-headlined Falls Park show on August 3. An injury to Bowen meant it didn't happen that night but the British Boxing Board have accepted promoter Frank Warren's undertaking that the fight will now go ahead in November.
“The date is said to be the 16th of November,” explained Pat Magee, Cacace's manager.
“The talk is Cardiff because on that date Liam Williams is supposed to be defending his British super-middleweight title and Liam Taylor versus Chris Jenkinson (controversially beat Paddy Gallagher at the Falls Park) is also said to be on that date.
“So there is more than just Cacace involved here, there are others involved and it's a show that BT Sports are going to do. We're just waiting for confirmation now.”
Cacace is a talent but, now aged 30, time is running out for the west Belfast fighter to fulfil his rich promise. Frustrated by the postponement and then the injury to Bowen, ‘the Apache' had offered to step in as a late replacement after Vladimir Nikitin pulled out of fighting Conlan. However, the fight didn't materialise and he has had to bide his time.
“It's a fight that Anthony should have had in July,” said Magee.
“He hasn't boxed since February now but the problem is that when you become mandatory for a British title, if there is any delay it's very difficult to organise an interim fight because you're waiting for the other guy to recover and then waiting for a date.
“If he had recovered earlier I would have thought that this fight should have been on the Josh Warrington show on the 12th of October in Leeds – it's a BT Sport show and I would have thought it would have been ideal. But Bowen didn't recover in time so we have to accept what Warren is saying and hope it (the November date) is the case.”
Bowen became champion when he beat Maxi Hughes to win the vacant title in April last year. He has defended it once – in March this year – against Jordan McCorry, a win that propelled his record to 15-0 with 11 stoppage wins including his last outings. The former GB Amateur star has pedigree and power and will be a serious test for Cacace who'll be the underdog here.
“He'll probably be the best that Cacace has fought,” Magee added.
“He has been very impressive in what he has done to date, he is number six in the WBO ratings, he's a puncher and I think that the Warren team are expecting him to go places. Cacace will have to show better than he has shown before to beat him, that's the way I look at it.”
Cacace lacks Bowen's punching power but at his best he is a well-balanced, talented boxer whose only defeat in 18 fights came when he lost to Martin Joseph Ward for the British title back in July 2017.
“He hasn't lived up to expectations,” said Magee.
“He hasn't. He didn't fight as well as he should have against Ward and he will have to produce a better performance against Bowen.
“Winning will give him all sorts of opportunities because he is in the top 15 with the WBA and he will go up in their ratings if he beats Bowen and he would feature in the WBO ratings as well.
“It's more than a British title fight, let's put it that way.
“Bowen has been inactive as well, he hasn't fought since March so both of them will have been out of the ring for six or seven months which is not a good thing. Anthony has suffered injuries and had fights postponed and one thing and another but he needs to win this fight for sure and he needs to move on quickly. He's now 30 years of age.”
Bowen has made the step up to title level seamlessly and impressively. The 27-year-old is approaching the peak of his powers and, to be brutally honest, Cacace will need to produce his absolute best or he could miss the boat.
“Cacace will be right up there with anybody Bowen has been in with too, absolutely,” added Magee.
“He is ambitious, he has won all of his fights clearly, he is undefeated and no-one has found his measure yet so we don't know how good he is. We're assuming that Cacace is the more experienced boxer, with a better amateur record and so on, but at the same time Bowen was in the elite squad for England when he boxed as an amateur. So there is every indication that this is going to be Cacace's hardest fight.”
STEVEN Donnelly takes on Ish O'Connor in London on Friday night. The Ballymena super-welter has advanced to 5-0 since making his debut at Windsor Park in August last year and hopes to force his way into British title contention.
Commonwealth Games medallist Donnelly (31), who boxed at Madison Square Garden last October, gets his second appearance of this year against unbeaten Ipswich native O'Connor (2-0) who has boxed his way to points wins in 2019.
Meanwhile, Caoimhin Agyarko progressed to 5-0 with a stoppage win over Nicaragua's Nelson Altamirano in London last weekend.
The former Holy Trinity ABC fighter, now based in the English capital and trained by Eddie Lam, was in his first scheduled eight-rounder. A thumping right hook saw him get the job done in less than three at York Hall.
CONOR McGregor appears to have announced a highly-anticipated return to UFC in December.
The 31-year-old has not fought since his high-profile defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov last October, where he lost his UFC lightweight title.
McGregor has posted a cryptic tweet saying "Dublin, December 14th", which may be suggesting a date for his return to the cage.
Since his last outing, McGregor has been faced with a number of issues outside the sport and only recently confirmed he would be returning.
If the fight on December 14 goes ahead, it will be the first time the UFC has been held in Dublin since 2015, and McGregor's first in his home country.
UFC vice-president James Elliott said in 2016: "Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium are two places that we've looked at, and we've made no secret about that.
"Conor has certainly made no secret about the fact he wants to fight in Dublin."