Boxing

'Do I want to smash him to pieces? Absolutely.' Anto Cacace primed for Leon Woodstock take two

Anthony Cacace defends his British super-featherweight title against Leon Woodstock. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Andy Watters

ANTO Cacace and me have been here before. We talked through his British super-featherweight title defence against Leon Woodstock back in February but then Woodstock pulled out after testing positive for Covid-19 practically as they were lacing up their gloves.

Cacace was spitting with anger and disappointment after that setback but six months on he has returned to his laidback self and is on the way to Carrickfergus where he trains these days with Ian Mahood and Harry Hawkins.

“The disappointment of the fight falling through the last time did my head in,” he says.

“Ian Mahood is a good friend of mine and he runs Evolution Boxing Club in Carrick and I decided to make the change to him. Him and Harry both do their jobs.

“I was getting very stale, I had basically given up on my boxing career but since I came back and moved down to Carrickfergus I feel rejuvenated. I've got energy, I'm happy and sometimes that's all that matters really.”

The old boxing adage is that a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and Cacace certainly intends to be that when he finally gets Woodstock in the squared circle at Arena Birmingham on August 28.

“I'm trying to put what happened the last time in the past but I've wasted a couple of camps on Woodstock now,” said Cacace.

“It annoyed me at the time but I pulled out of a fight myself before that, so I just have to take it the way it is.

“I really had no interest in fighting him at all after the last one fell through but he seems to be the only one there to fight so, why not? Hopefully it all goes to plan, he stays safe and I stay safe and the fight goes ahead. I feel ready I feel physically in a good place and mentally in a great place. Hopefully everything stays that way.

“We head over to Birmingham next Wednesday so there's not long to go. I just need to hold on and look after myself.”

Cacace and Woodstock have traded verbal blows already. The Englishman has done his best to get the ‘sledging' going but Cacace says “words meaning nothing to me”.

“He's a clown,” said Cacace.

“I've had a bit of back-and-forth with him and he's been putting up statements that just aren't true. He seems to be talking garbage, maybe he's trying to get under my skin but he doesn't know me.

“He can say whatever he wants but it goes over my head. At the end of the day we're getting in and we're going to share the ring and I know what I'm going to.

“Do I want to smash him to pieces? Absolutely. But I've no anger towards him, he seems like a good lad and I want him to get out of the ring healthy and okay after it the same as myself – we've all got family and kids to look after and it's a business at the end of the day.”

Woodstock's aggressive, front foot style should suit Cacace and he agrees that the 12-2 Londoner is virtually made for him.

“I just want to do what I do best and I know I have the tools to beat someone like him,” said Cacace.

“He's the sort of guy I used to pray I would draw in the amateurs. He'll come at me – that's what I like so he's tailormade for my style.

“I'll pick him off and move and out-box him but if it comes down to it, I can go down town, I can fight and I'm one of the biggest punchers in the super-featherweight division and I haven't showed my potential yet.

“I'm headlining the show and it's all I ever wanted. I feel like I've had a really good camp and I just want to win the fight – it really doesn't matter to me what way I win it either. I would like to impress but if I was to win by a round on the scorecards or a first round knockout, it doesn't matter to me either way.”

Getting that ‘W' is all that counts for Cacace. He has had absolutely no luck in his career and is long overdue a break. As the number six ranked fighter with the WBA, beating Woodstock should see him get the chance to showcase his undoubted skills on the global stage.

“If I beat Woodstock I'm pretty sure I'll get a top three ranking and either a shot at the world title or a final eliminator this side of Christmas,” he said.

HEAVYWEIGHT Nick Campbell will headline the ‘Bomb Proof' show at the Europa Hotel on Saturday, September 4.

The Scottish heavyweight – a former professional rugby player- has recorded stoppage wins in his two outings so far (in April and May this year) and will be planning to extend that run on his Belfast debut.

Chief support will be ‘Lilywhite Lightening' Eric Donovan who put his IBO Intercontinental super-featherweight stoppage loss to Zelfa Barrett behind him with a points win over Rafael Castillo late last year.

Cavan's Dominic Donegan (5-1) is also on the MHD Promotions card and there will be a professional debut for Colm ‘Posh Boy' Murphy.

“People do think I'm a bit mad going down the professional boxing route because it's not going to be an easy road. I know this,” the former Methody College student, who recently graduated as a Quantity Surveyor, told The Irish News recently.

“People do still doubt me, they don't think professional boxing is for me, but I'm going to give it a go.

“When I first started boxing I went to St Agnes's and they used to call me ‘posh boy', so that's the name I've decided to go with: Colm ‘Posh Boy' Murphy. My family thought it was a cracker.”

MUHAMMAD Ali's grandson, Nico Ali-Walsh, paid tribute to ‘The Greatest' after he won his professional debut at the weekend.

The 21-year-old dropped Jordan Weeks after 70 seconds of their middleweight contest in Oklahoma, on Saturday night and the fight was stopped before the end of the first round.

"It's just an emotional journey, this whole ride," Ali-Walsh said.

"This lived up completely to my expectations.

"Obviously, my grandfather, I've been thinking about him so much. I miss him."

Ali-Walsh is the son of Ali's daughter Rasheda Ali and after his win he celebrated in the ring with Bob Arum, who also promoted 27 of his grandfather's fights. Ali-Walsh is signed to Arum's Top Rank company.

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Boxing