Anthony Cacace made a successful belated first defence of his British super featherweight title as he battered Lyon Woodstock for the full 12 rounds as he recorded a unanimous points victory in Birmingham. 

Cacace had won the title in his last fight way back in 2019, by beating Sam Bowen at the same venue. He was too quick and sharp for Woodstock, whom he dropped in the fourth round, after which Woodstock never really looked likely to threaten the champion. 

This fight had been due to take place in February, until it was called off in fight week after Woodstock failed a Covid test. It has been a frustrating six months for Cacace since then, having not boxed in 2020 either when an ongoing tooth infection meant that he could not train, let alone box. 

But the Belfast southpaw, a one-time amateur international team-mate of Carl Frampton, has plenty to offer at the age of 32 and a style that could translate to world level. He lured Woodstock forward throughout, picking him off throughout, but when Cacace wanted to lead off, he could. 

Cacace made the best of the start and caught Woodstock with a hard right uppercut as he trapped the Midlander on the ropes in the second. Woodstock was more active in the third round, but that suited Cacace as he picked the challenger off. 

Early in the fourth, a long left hook from Cacace dropped Woodstock on the canvas. Cacace piled on the pressure and, while Woodstock rode out the storm, Woodstock was falling further behind, as Cacace too the fifth round too. 

There were some signs of hope for Woodstock in the seventh round, as he forced Cacace back to the ropes for the first time. But Cacace was still making him miss a lot and walked him into a big, swinging right hook near the end of the eighth round.  

To his credit, Woodstock kept coming forward and trying to make it difficult for Cacace, but he was punished constantly as the Northern Irishman whipped shots around the side of his guard. There was no real need for him to come out for the last two rounds, but he bravely soldiered on with next to no success. 

The result was a formality. Ian John Lewis and John Latham scored it 117-110 and Steve Gray had it 117-111. Marcus McDonnell was the referee. 

“I would have liked the stoppage, but after two years out, getting the win was the most important thing,” Cacace said. “More fights, the better you are going to see of me.” 

Cacace said he would next like to face Archie Sharp, the WBO’s No 2 contender, who broke Woodstock’s unbeaten record three years ago. 

“I beat Archie every day of the week and twice on Sunday,” Cacace said. 

Stoke ticket-seller Nathan Heaney was rewarded for filling half of the arena with a 10pm start-time for his ten-rounder against Bulgarian journeyman Konstantin Alexandrov and delighted his fans with a fifth-round knockout. 

The unbeaten middleweight, 32, dominated the fight, slowly taking apart his opponent, who showed little ambition, before stepping it up in the fifth round. The end came after a series of hard rights, finished off with a body punch, dropped Alexandrov to the canvas, where he remained while referee Kevin Parker counted him out. The official time was 1:36.