Anthony Cacace decisively retained his British super-featherweight title as he produced a career-best display to tame Lyon 'The Lion' Woodstock by way of a unanimous points decision in Birmingham last night (117-110, 117-110, 117-11).
Lenadoon's 'Apache' was simply sensational, exuding confidence from the off and boxing with speed, power and precision to keep the Lonsdale Belt against a very game, yet out-gunned challenger.
This fight was due to take place on a couple of occasions last year, only for Cacace to be sidelined with a mouth abscess and then in February, Woodstock was forced out after testing positive for Covid-19 two days out from fight night, but at the fourth time of asking they finally they met in the ring with Cacace sweeping to an expected victory.
"I would have liked to get the stoppage but after two years out, I really just needed to get the win that was more important than anything else," he told BT Sport after.
"I know that with more fights, the better you're going to see of me - this is just scratching the surface.
"He is a hard man - harder than most of them. I don't even want to take these bandages (hand wraps) off as I hurt both hands early and I'll have to see what they're like, but he's a hard man with a hard head too."
Cacace opened at orthodox, a deviation from his usual southpaw stance, but switched on occasion as he seemed relaxed and landed with sturdy jabs.
Woodstock was busy as expected without landing much of note, but was rocked hard early in the second as Cacace landed flush with an overhand right and follow-up straight left, continuing with an assault that appeared to stiffen the Englishman's legs.
The Belfast man was smart not to completely empty the tank as he knew the finish wasn't quite on and was happy to step back and draw the lead before returning hard counters.
In the past, Cacace has been guilty of low output, but he was active and boxed with speed and precision as his footwork and reflexes were too quick for Woodstock who pressed on and the challenger was walked onto an uppercut in the third.
The power of Cacace has always been noted and it came into play early in the fourth as he decked Woodstock with a crunching left. The Londoner rose but was peppered with stiff jabs as it became clear there was a huge gulf in class.
Woodstock had plenty of heart and was trying everything to gain a foothold, pressing on in the fifth and attempting to turn this into a fight at close quarters, but Cacace always had the answer and switched lefty to find a home for some meaty shots at the end of the round.
Cacace was barely wasting a punch and was well clear by the midway point against the challenger who was full of endeavour and enjoyed a decent seventh as Cacace was caught when switching stances, but the champion answered well in the eighth with some heavy shots including one that appeared to stiffen the legs once more.
Woodstock was now being forced to take risks in order to swing the pendulum his way but was playing into Cacace's hands who popped out the left jab and countered with blood from the challenger's nose as we entered the championship rounds.
There was no question that Woodstock needed a knockout but the opposite was more likely as he appeared too brave for his own good, looking in real distress in the 11th and was again stunned in the final frame, but managed to last until the final bell.
Cacace entered the ring with a number six ranking with the WBA and will likely rise further in the wake off this victory with a potential eliminator for the big one next.
However, he said in the aftermath there may be a bit of domestic business to clear up first with the undefeated Archie Sharp on his radar: "Now it's for Archie Sharp - where are you, Archie? Have your balls dropped or what?
"He thinks he's number one and a big shot - get him here now, why not? I would beat Archie every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
"I genuinely believe you haven't seen the best of me. I wasn't putting my shots together tonight. I was picking shots and hurting him with everything. Just get me more fights and you'll see me do amazing things - up Andytown!"