Frank Warren’s first card of 2021 has hit some serious stumbling blocks. A planned headline fight between Carl Frampton and Jamel Herring for the WBO super featherweight world title had to be postponed when Frampton was forced to pull out. That fight has been pushed back to April 3rd and will now take place in Dubai.
The show was all set to go ahead with Anthony Cacace defending his British title super featherweight title against Lyon Woodstock. Or so we thought. Just two days before fight night it was announced Woodstock had tested positive for Coronavirus and the fight would no longer take place.
Queensberry Promotions, and BT Sport, will still go ahead on Saturday night with a significantly reduced card but one in which new talents have a serious chance to grab some headlines.
Popular Stoke man Nathan Heaney gets to shake off the dust against Lancashire fighter Ryan Oliver. Heaney, 10-0, will be making his Queensbury debut after impressing on the small-hall scene where he built a reputation for ferocious fans and even feistier fights. The 31-year-old was one of few boxers to get out in 2020 pre-pandemic with a comfortable win over Christian Schembri for the IBO Continental super middleweight title (albeit boxing at 162lbs).
Ryan Oliver’s reputation is perhaps a little untested but showed ambition when flying out to Bermuda last January to face Earl Bascombe (8-1). ‘The Wasp’ has typically fought at lighter weights – buzzing in at around 150lbs – so it’ll be interesting to see the disparity on the night.
Heaney was originally slated to face Mick Hall (15-3) on the card but you’d expect this to be an opportunity for Frank Warren’s new signing to showcase his silky skills.
At super flyweight, Quaise Khademi goes up against Ijaz Ahmed in defence of his WBO European title and with the vacant IBF equivalent also on the line. The contest is a sensibly matched affair with Khademi coming off a well-fought ten rounder over Pedro Matos – who seems to be becoming a yardstick for up-and-coming British fighters at 112/115lbs. Khademi had a tougher than expected night on that occasion, back in December 2019, but he’s looking like a well-rounded fighter in the making and certainly one to watch.
Facing the 26-year-old is a former Midlands Area flyweight champion in the form of Ijaz ‘Jazzy’ Ahmed. ‘Jazzy’ has a significant height disadvantage, officially coming in some five inches shorter, but had two good wins at Area level – against Matt Windle and Conar Blackshaw, respectively. The 27-year-old tasted defeat last time out (November 2019) against former Team GB man Harvey Horn.
Maidstone lightweight Sam Noakes has looked peerless to date with four wins inside the distance – impressively stopping Jordan Ellison back in August 2020. The youngster is being fast-tracked by Frank Warren and faces, unbeaten, Delmar Thomas (5-0) on Saturday night in a contest that could be a real coming of age.
Also featuring on the show will be Tommy Fury against an opponent TBC: Fury has looked explosive in his four contests to date. He’s stopping opponents that don’t get stopped often and doing the business quickly. We know he can punch but we won’t be able to judge how far he can go until we see someone testing his timing and footwork – there should be plenty of options available this year even at pre-Area level. Let’s see him out three, four times in a year and at that point, we’ll get an idea of his development.
There are a trio of debuts rounding out the card with Amaar Akbar, Adan Mohamed and Masood Abdulah all starting their pro careers in four rounders.
Akbar is a heavily decorated amateur and signed with Frank Warren aged 19 – he was defeated by Sam Noakes as an amateur so keep an eye out for that potential storyline to develop.
Mohamed is another fighter turning pro as a teenager. A product of Repton ABC, he’s a two-time Haringey BoxCup champion and European Youth bronze medalist.
26-year-old Masood Abdulah won the national championships last April and has had a speedy development since his first amateur contest in 2017.
Everything you need to know about Saul ‘Canelo’ Anthony Cacace vs. Lyon Woodstock. Fight news, tape, ringwalk time, TV channel, streams and ticket details Saul ‘Anthony Cacace vs. Lyon Woodstock on Saturday 27th February 2021 at Hard Rock Stadium in Florida. … Box.Live: one boxing website to unify them all.
Cacace-Woodstock British super featherweight title fight preview
The second show of Queensberry Promotions’ planned summer season, which kicks off on July 10 with Brad Foster vs James Beech Jr, features British super featherweight champion Anthony Cacace (18-1, 7KOs) defending his Lord Lonsdale belt to challenger Lyon Woodstock (12-2, 5KOs).
The British battle will take place behind closed doors at the BT Sport Studios in Stratford, televised live on BT Sport, as boxing finally returns with what is certain to be an exciting encounter between ‘The Apache’ and ‘The Lion’.
31-year-old Cacace has experienced 108 rounds as a professional and has been involved in four title fights. He has been taken to the 12-round distance twice during his eight-year-long pro career. Despite fellow Belfast boxer Carl Frampton hailing him as one of the hardest punchers he’s ever felt, Anto only has seven stoppages from 19 bouts.
Woodstock, 26, has a similar KO ratio at around 35%. He has experienced a quarter less rounds than Cacace, having had five fewer fights. He also has experienced four championship contests during his five-year career, but has only been the 12-round distance just once in his last fight.
Woodstock didn’t set foot inside a boxing gym until he was over 16-years-old yet compiled a decent record quickly, but never reached any dizzying heights.
His first test as a professional came against Paul Holt (6-3) when the pair clashed for the vacant Midlands Area super featherweight strap in 2017, which Woodstock won in the third round.
His first major test was when he had a life-and-death fight of the year contender with battle-hardened Craig Poxton (13-4) the same year winning a close fight on points to claim the WBO European title.
He lost that belt just a year later in his first defence when he had another fight of the candidate, this time with bitter rival Archie Sharp (13-0).
It was a thrilling war between the enemies, the pace was high, punches exchanged were plentiful, and entertainment was provided. Welling’s Sharp was the bigger man and landed the heavier, cleaner blows to win on points.
He bounced back with a win and a knockdown over eight rounds against low-level opponent Sergio Gonzalez (10-13-5) in March 2019, but tasted defeat again for a second time in the next fight when he was outclassed considerably by Zelfa Barrett (21-1).
He took a lot of punishment but still came forward throwing hands, right up to the final bell, proving worthy of the title ‘warrior’, but he was well beaten by ‘The Brown Flash’, who looked quite comfortable in there.
With just a Midlands Area belt and WBO European in his trophy cabinet, he hasn’t yet risen to the occasion when stepping up another level.
What he does do very well is provide value for money with his entertaining style, persistance, doggedness and jis heart of a lion.
A product of the Oliver Plunkett Gym in west Belfast, Anto was a sculpted into a fine amateur by Patsy McAllister and collected three Four Nation gold medals.
Now training in Brian Magee’s gym as a professional, he hasn’t had a smooth ride so far, which included a stint over in Philadelphia for almost a year, where he managed to have just one bout. On his return from the States in 2014 he signed with Cyclone Promotions which lasted a little longer and was very fruitful, racking up a further five wins in just over a year, including an impressive Celtic title victory over Ronnie Clark (13-2-2).
Back under Pat Magee’s guidance and Brian Magee’s training regime (no relation), he bounced back from his very close defeat to Martin J Ward (17-0-2) to win the British super featherweight title in his last fight, dethroning unbeaten champion Sam Bowen (15-0) with his heavy hooks and accurate shots. Bowen was bleeding from the nose early and his face was badly swollen by the end. Anthony Cacace vs Leon Woodstock
Naturally gifted in talent and power, Carl Frampton has already recognised his “world-class ability” and was also quoted saying “he was the hardest puncher he knew”.
Expert reviews like that should be enough to tell you all there is to know, but Cacace is also a hungry fighter, and they are the most dangerous ones.
As I’ve just alluded to, Anthony Cacace calls himself a hungry fighter, with a wife and three children to support at home. He has entertained the idea of retirement more than once during his career as he has had more changes of management than most, coupled with contract issues and postponements, resulting in many months of dormancy.
His win over Bowen proved to be the turning point in his career, then it all came to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. So now he finds himself back where he was, which is in need of money and hungry for his life as a boxer to continue again. Anthony Cacace vs Leon Woodstock
The necessity to win will be great for both fighters, but I believe so more for Anthony Cacace, who has proven himself at this level, whereas Lyon Woodstock hasn’t yet. Anthony Cacace vs Leon Woodstock
I believe the champion will prevail on points, but I wouldn’t rule out a late stoppage either. Woodstock has never been stopped and he is one tough cookie, but maybe Cacace could be the man to do it?
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