Sport

Anthony Cacace all-in for glory in showdown with Cordina on Arabian fight night

‘Andytown Apache’ Cacace determined to bring home super-featherweight world titles

Anto Cacace will battle Joe Cordino for the IBO and IBF super-featherweight titles on Saturday night
Anto Cacace will battle Joe Cordino for the IBO and IBF super-featherweight titles on Saturday night (Stephen Dunkley)

HE has waited many years for this opportunity and former plasterer Anthony Cacace says he has the tools to grab it and beat IBF super-featherweight champion Joe Cordina in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

With nearby palm trees swaying gently in the desert wind, the scene was a contrast to Cacace’s native West Belfast but a ring is a ring and the ‘Andytown Apache’ says he travelled “for a fight” and he intends to shock the pundits by adding Cordina’s belt to his IBO title.

Winning would be life-changing for affable Cacace who will have former amateur coaches Mickey Hawkins senior and junior in his corner on Saturday at the Kingdom Arena.

“I’m buzzing, I’m buzzing,” he told the assembled media at the pre-fight press conference.

“What an opportunity on such a big card and I’m just privileged to be on this show. I’m here for a fight and I know all about Joe Cordina – I know his strengths and I know his weaknesses.”

Anto Cacace with coach Michael Hawkins senior in Saudi Arabia.
Anto Cacace with coach Michael Hawkins senior in Saudi Arabia. (Stephen Dunkley)

Long regarded as the hidden gem of Irish boxing, belief will be the key ingredient for Cacace on Saturday night. He has boxed on high-profile shows previously but this one, headlined by the heavyweight unification mega-fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, is on another level. On top of that, he is up against the slick and talented Cordina who is making the third defence of his IBF belt.

Cacace is undaunted by his surroundings and his opponent.

“I’ve waited 12 years as a pro for an opportunity like this and it’s finally arrived and it’s arrived on the biggest stage in world boxing for God knows how many years,” he said.

“I’m very appreciative to be here and I’m here to win.”

King of the ring: The 'Andytown Apache' Anthony Cacace goes through his paces in the open workout in Riyadh
King of the ring: The 'Andytown Apache' Anthony Cacace goes through his paces in the open workout in Riyadh (Stephen Dunkley)

Cordina also looked fit and focussed and said he was looking forward to having a “massive stage” to showcase his talent on. He stopped experienced Japanese Kenichi Ogawa in Cardiff to win the title in 2022 but wasn’t as convincing and his first two defences.

“It’s a big fight and for years I thought that me and Anthony were going to cross paths and we’re here now,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to a tough fight and I’m looking forward to sharing the ring with him.”

The Cardiff native is on record as saying he does everything better than Cacace and, with Cacace staring at him intently from a few feet away, he stood by those words.

“I believe in my ability,” he said.

“Same way he believes in his ability. He believes he knows my weaknesses, I believe I know his and vice-versa with the strengths. It’s going to be a good fight and I’m looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, Queensbury Boxing chief Frank Warren predicts that boxing fans – most of whom will be tuning primarily in for Fury-Usyk – will be entertained by what is served up in the Ireland-Wales battle with the Italian flavour (both fighters have heritage in Italy).

“It’s a great international fight and all the boxing fans are going to be enthralled by what takes place between these two guys,” said Warren.

“They’re two quality fighters and the little cherry on top of the cake is it’s Queensbury (Cacace) v Matchroom (Cordina). We want to get the advantage to start with because we’ve got the big one on the 1st of June, the ‘Five v Five’.