Anthony Cacace says it his heartbreaking that his first fight in 15 months has been called off after Lyon Woodstock, who was supposed to have challenged the Belfast boxer for the British super-featherweight title, failed his COVID-19 test. 

“Boxing can be rough at times but really is heartbreaking this time around,” Cacace said on Twitter. 

The 32-year-old had been due to be making the first defense of the title he won by beating Sam Bowen in November 2019. He did not box last year when his health was seriously hindered by two teeth that became badly infected and led to a series of problems. 

The difficulties were behind him, however, and Cacace, who has had a stop-start career and was once a team-mate of Carl Frampton on the Ireland amateur squad, had hoped that Saturday’s fight would set up a year that would see “The Apache” push on into world class this year. 

Attempts had been made to find a replacement opponent, but lack of time and restrictions caused by the Covid bubble made that difficult. Had he beaten Woodstock, there had been talk about a fight with Archie Sharp, the WBO’s No 5 contender. 

The show at the Cooper Box in East London, the first by Queensberry Promotions on BT Sport this year, has proved cursed. Cacace-Woodstock was originally supposed to be chief support to the IBF super-featherweight title fight between Jamel Herring and Frampton. That was postponed due to a Frampton hand injury and has not been rearranged for April 3 in Dubai. 

It still does go ahead, though with the headline fight now between London-based Afghanistani Quaise Khademi and Ijaz Ahmed. Middleweight Nathan Heaney also has his first fight in a year as he faces Ryan Oliver. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.