Saturday 19 January 2019

Belfast pair on title trail

Tommy McCarthy and Anthony Cacace nearing the big-time

Anthony Cacace in the clinch during his bout against Santiago Bustos in Belfast in February 2015. Pic: Sportsfile
Anthony Cacace in the clinch during his bout against Santiago Bustos in Belfast in February 2015. Pic: Sportsfile

Promoter Pat Magee is a happy man.

"We're all set to go," he enthuses as Tommy McCarthy and Anthony Cacace prepare to take another step towards winning important titles.

Both Belfast prospects are fighting in Manchester tonight knowing they're on course to become a British champion early in the new year.

With Cacace (14-0, 7 KOs) already guaranteed a shot at the super featherweight title and McCarthy (9-0, 5 KOs) just one win away from a crack at the cruiserweight title, Magee can allow himself to dream.

"We could have two Belfast fighters becoming British champions by Easter time," he says.

Unfortunately for Irish fight fans, it's highly unlikely both men will fight for their respective Lonsdale belts on the same card.

"Tommy's fight with Matty Askin tonight is an eliminator for a title fight with Craig Kennedy," says the busy manager. "We expect Tommy to win and then we'd expect to be planning his title fight for February.

"As regards Anthony, we'll need a bit more time with him," he explains. "Champion Martin Ward fights Ronnie Clark, who Anthony knocked out last year. The winner then has to fight Maxie Hughes in February. Whoever comes through that will definitely face Anthony.

"The timing is perfect," adds Magee. "We hoped Anthony would get in a few useful rounds in his warm-up fight, but it ended after just three minutes because his opponent had a suspected broken jaw. Since then, Anthony's wife has had a baby so we'd like him not to be under the pressure of a training camp until after Christmas."

Magee's plan for Cacace is to have him back in action with a holding fight in February and then be ready for a title fight in April.

Based back in Belfast following a brief sojourn in London with the Cyclone Gym, Cacace is, according to his manager, "Home, happy and in good form".

But Magee warns, "The Nicaraguan boxer he's fighting tonight (Leonel Hernandez) fought a former European champion (Juli Giner) in his last fight."

With both McCarthy and Cacace being coached by former world champion Brian Magee, the manager believes things could now move very quickly for both fighters.

"Anthony is freakish at the weight," he points out. He's 5' 10" and 130lbs. He's a real handful for anyone. This is a great division for him to be in. I expect him to move on to the world stage very quickly.

"Tommy has been difficult to match," he says. "But we've got him in a position where he's in an eliminator.

"These are exciting times for Belfast fighters," he adds.

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