‘I believe God has brought me to this position...’ Anto Cacace primed for Cordina world title duel on Tyson Fury undercard in Saudi Arabia

Kurt Walker targets British champion Collins * Tyrone UFC star Loughran wants Rosas rumble

Anthony Cacace (left) in action against Michael Magnesi during their IBO World Super-Featherweight Championship contest at the AO Arena, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday September 24, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story BOXING Manchester. Photo credit should read: Ian Hodgson/PA Wire...RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder..
Anthony Cacace takes on Joe Cordina in Saudi Arabia next month

ANTO Cacace worried that his chance had gone.

The biggest fight – a long-awaited IBF world super-featherweight title shot against Joe Cordina – on the biggest night – the undercard of Tyson Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia – fell through due to the cut Fury sustained in training.

The bill was postponed and Cacace feared it would be cancelled but, barring any more unforeseen injuries, it will take place on Saturday, May 18 at Kingdom Arena and the postponement is a blessing for Cacace. He had originally taken the Cordina fight with six weeks’ notice and the extra time means he can have a full training camp to prepare for his unbeaten Welsh opponent.

“I thought the chance was gone,” said Cacace.

“I’m over the moon the way it was put on so quick again – a week after it was cancelled I knew it was back on again. The delay has given me more time to train – when it was cancelled I was able to take a wee bit of time off to go and reset and then come back and go at it again.”

At 35, Cacace is approaching the veteran stage now and – like Pody McCrory in the USA last month – his big opportunity has come late in his career. ‘The Apache’ made his professional debut 12 years ago and has progressed to 21-1 since with the one loss a British title challenge against Martin J Ward in 2017.

Described as “world class” by two-weight world champion Carl Frampton, Cacace now intends to showcase all his ability and experience against Cordina.

“I’m no spring chicken now and I’ve had a couple of wee injuries but I’m getting there,” he said.

“It’ll be all about who wants it more out there. Joe Cordina is sharp, we know he can punch but I just want this so badly, I’m willing to die in there to win it and you can take that as a laugh or a joke but I’m 100 per cent serious.

“I have worked my whole life for this opportunity so it’s time now to do it. I genuinely thought I would never be at this stage but I’m here now and I appreciate it.

“I believe God has brought me to this position and I believe I am here for a reason. All that crap at the start of my career and now I’m fighting in Saudi on the Fury card! You know, it’s dreamy stuff! It’s a dream come true and everybody will get to see a good fight.

“I know what I am. I’m an underdog but underdogs win too. If I didn’t think I could beat this lad, I wouldn’t be training – I’d just go over there and get the money. But I’m training every day, twice-a-day. I’ve rented a house and I’m in training mode and if I didn’t believe I could win I wouldn’t be doing all this.”

Adam Booth-trained Kurt Walker is in action in Galway
Kurt Walker made a statement of intent with a stoppage win against James Beech jnr at the Ulster Hall

KURT Walker is targeting a duel with British and Commonwealth champion Nathaniel Collins after he won the WBA Inter-Continental European featherweight title with a breakout performance against James Beech at the Ulster Hall on Saturday night.

Accurate and elusive, master boxer Walker had too much class for Beech and he broke him down over seven rounds until the Englishman’s corner decided not to send him out for the eighth.

“I’m delighted,” said Walker.

“It came at the perfect time – my last stoppage was my first fight.

“I always said it (an early finish) would happen when I went up in opposition because they’d come at me and make more mistakes. I showed him from the start that I wasn’t going to be bullied about and I was trying to put more on my punches.

“I wanted to put a statement on because I knew I would be compared to the other people – Nathaniel Collins, Hopey Price, Denis McCann – who had beat him.”

Collins beat Beech a year ago to add the British title to the Commonwealth belt he already held. Now Walker wants to take both off the Scot and he hopes to do so this summer.

“There has been some talk of me and Nathaniel happening, so that would be good,” he said.

“I think Jamie (Conlan) and his manager have talked because Nathaniel is looking an opponent for May and if it makes sense we could fight for the British and Commonwealth and the European title I have now so there would be three belts on the line. I would definitely do it, no problem and I’d be ready to go in June.

“I never want to go backwards, I just want to take big fights because I’m 29 and I’ve done two years fighting journeymen so I’m ready to go now.”

On the undercard last Saturday night, Ruadhan Farrell beat Connor Kerr in a titanic battle to win the Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic Super-bantamweight title. Warrior ‘Rudy’ came out on points after a terrific scrap over eight furious rounds.

Earlier, Steven Ward returned after two years’ on the sidelines with a points win over Perry Howe and JP O’Meara, Gerard Hughes, Glenn Byrne, Owen O’Neill and John Boyd all had their hand raised.


WBA Intercontinental Featherweight title: Kurt Walker (11-0) bt James Beech Jnr (16-6) RTD 7

Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic Super-bantamweight title: Ruadhan Farrell (5-1-1) bt Connor Kerr (3-1) pts

Super-featherweight: JP O’Meara (3-0) bt Engel Gomez (8-27-3) pts

Cruiserweight: Steven Ward (14-2) bt Perry Howe (5-13-1) pts

Super-welterweight: Glenn Byrne (3-0) bt Martin Shaw (4-22-3) pts

Super-welterweight: Owen O’Neill (13-0) bt Edgar Kemsky (3-8-1) pts

Featherweight: Gerard Hughes (55-0-1) bt Luke Fash (3-102-3) pts

Super-welterweight: John Boyd (1-0) bt Allan White (0-6) pts

Kildress native Caolan Loughran makes his UFC debut in Paris tonight
Caolan Loughran won at Boardwalk Hall last Saturday night

UFC star Caolan Loughran called out called out teenage wonderkid Raul Rosas Jr after his unanimous decision win over Angel Pacheco in Atlantic City last Saturday night.

The bantamweight from Kildress, county Tyrone hammered Pacheco with a series of right hands and won by unanimous decision over three one-sided rounds at Boardwalk Hall.

Wearing his prized Wolfe Tone’s GAC jersey, Loughran got straight to the point at the post-fight press conference.

“We’ve got the same record now,” he said of 19-year-old Rosas.

“It makes sense, We’re in the same position, we have the same record.

“We can do it on the pay-per-view in Manchester, or we can do it on (McGregor) v Chandler, or we can go to the Sphere on Mexican Independence Day and have 15 million Mexicans booing me on the way out.”

On the same bill there was disappointment for Ballymena welterweight Rhys McKee who suffered a split-decision loss to American Chidi Njokuani.