Boxing

Anthony Cacace returns to action on undercard of James DeGale versus Chris Eubank junior

Anthony Cacace returns to the ring in London tonight determined to make up for lost time
Andy Watters

Boxing: Anthony Cacace v Alan Isaias Luques Castillo (tonight, O2 London, free to air on ITV Box Office from 6pm)

MASSIVE for a super-featherweight, Anto Cacace would give a good account of himself at welterweight and when you add in his sweet skills and the power he has in both hands, it’s easy to see why promoters are so sweet on west Belfast’s ‘Apache’.

But Cacace’s career has stopped and started, started and stopped over seven years and he returns to the ring after 14 months on the sidelines to take on Alan Isaias Luques Castillo at the O2 Arena on the undercard of James DeGale versus Chris Eubank junior IBO super-middleweight rumble.

At 30, Cacace might well have expected to be the headline act on shows like this himself by now but the laidback Belfast man rejects all the talk of it being “now or never” for him.

“All this last-chance-saloon stuff is a lot of crap really,” he says.

“Alright, I’m 30 years of age but you always get opportunities in this sport and I’m ready for this fight and I’m ready to take it with both hands.

“Castillo has a good ranking so, all being well that I win the fight, I’ll be well ranked after it so it will put me in a good spot. I need to be fighting every couple of months, this staying out of the ring for so long is just not ideal and I wouldn’t have minded a wee warm-up fight before this but it’s just the way things pan out.

“Saying that, I don’t think I’m going to be rusty. I’ve boxed for 20 years and I’ve been in and out of the gym since Christmas and I’ve done a good bit of sparring.”

Cacace spent a frustrating chunk of his early career based in the USA before returning home disillusioned. He was snapped up by Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions and, with Carl Frampton setting the local scene alight, it looked like a dream move for him.

He made his Cyclone debut on the undercard of Frampton world title win over Kiko Martinez at the Titanic Slipway and, three fights later, beat Ronnie Clarke to win the Celtic super-featherweight title in a Fight of the Year contender in Scotland.

But the Cyclone switch turned sour and that proved to be his last fight with the McGuigan’s. Cacace returned home and was signed by Belfast fight-manager Pat Magee who secured him a shot at Martin J Ward’s British title in July 2017. It was close but Cacace didn’t quite do enough and lost on points and has fought just once since then.

Now trained by Sean McCullough at the Emerald Gym, he returns to London tomorrow night and intends to make up for lost time.

“The team I have around me now and the way everything is going is perfect,” said Cacace.

“I would like to prove a couple of people wrong but I don’t like to say that type of thing, I just like to let things happen naturally. I try to take things in my stride and not get caught up in that kind of stuff because it starts putting your head away.

“I know what I’ve got to do and the boys know what they have to do so we’ll just go and do it.”

What he needs to do of course is get past Castillo tonight by any means necessary. The Argentinian is expected to be durable and is on a five-fight winning streak since losing to Oscar De La Hoya’s nephew Diego in July 2017. But that fight was at super-bantamweight and Cacace is confident he will have too much power for Castillo tonight.

“He is a good, tough fighter but I think I’m a better fighter,” said Cacace.

“He has come up two weights – I’m not saying that is a big thing – but we’ll find out how good this guy’s chin is and how durable he is and how durable I am. We have to see what happens.”

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