THEY came out in their numbers on Monday evening to throng South Link in Andersonstown as IBF super-featherweight champion Anthony Cacace was welcomed home in fitting style.

The outpouring of goodwill since the 'Andytown Apache' dethroned Joe Cordina in the eighth round in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, should have told Cacace what to expect, but as he turned the corner at Koram Ring onto South Link, there was a look of genuine shock on his face as a huge crowd roared his arrival.

With the IBF title belt on one shoulder and the IBO on the other, Cacace was mobbed by friends, neighbours and fans who all turned out to show their support.

He posed for countless photos and signed autographs as young and old jockeyed for position to offer their congratulations.

"I thought I was about to have a panic attack," Belfast's newest world champion said with a laugh.

The party at his family home is just beginning and may go on for some time as Cacace, who had endured so many crushing disappointments throughout his career, can now begin to process just what he has achieved.

His story is one of resilience and that has struck a chord with the community so will toast him in the days and weeks ahead.

“I’m doing this for all the people in the area. People who have nothing, I want to show them that anything is possible,” he said in the build-up to his title win.

That message was received loud and clear and the community made it known on Monday they are eternally grateful for his exploits that have raised the hopes and dreams of all.