Luke Caci will hit double figures as a professional boxer looking to further establish himself as a super middleweight.
Caci has transitioned down from light heavy and has boxed under the 168lb limit for his last two contests, remaining unblemished in the process.
He next features on BCB Promotions’ first offering in the city for 2020, which will take place at the King’s Hall, in Stoke-on-Trent, on Friday March 13.
The 30-year-old has notched nine victories from nine pro outings so far, with his maiden TKO coming in his first foray at super middle.
Caci stopped an overwhelmed Bryn Wain in the fifth of six scheduled rounds and has since outpointed Darryl Sharp, in another six-rounder.
His eight previous wins came at light heavy, starting with his debut in 2017 where he whitewashed Andy Neylon, putting him down along the way.
He later beat Mitch Mitchell, Daniel Borisov and Curtis Gargano that year, before an unbroken run at King’s Hall where he’s now made five pro appearances.
Caci first went eight rounds with Chris Dutton, besting him over-the-distance to claim the now-defunct British Challenge belt.
His following bout with Craig Nicholson turned out to be a toe-to-toe battle, but Caci won two of the four rounds clearly to have his hand raised.
He had to work hard to see off Raimonds Sneidze next time out, overcoming the Latvian by a point despite conceding a round and a share of another session.
That turned out to be his farewell at light heavy, with Wain and Sharp since thwarted, and Caci is feeling good about his progress.
He said: “I’ve had, on average, three a year, I could have done with more fights but I’m big time happy to get to 10. It’s been a good journey.
“I’ve got a great coach in Steve (Woodvine), he’s more than just a trainer to me. He’s one of my best friends, he knows me better than anyone and I trust his judgment.
“But we’re both realistic, I’ve served my apprenticeship, I need a breakthrough opportunity and my fans want to see me in a big fight.
“I’m waiting for that and I trust my team to deliver. I still think that will be at super middle, rather than light heavy.
“I walk around at light heavy, but it’s not a real hard task for me to make super middle. I see that as my natural weight.
“I’ve had the big lumps pushing on me, the opponents who are 6ft 4in with broad shoulders and massive legs. They are thicker set men than myself.
“Super middleweights are not usually like that, although there are one or two that are huge for their weight, like in every division.
“My last two have been at super middle, I managed to stop Bryn but he’s really a natural middleweight. Darryl was larger and a bit more imposing.
“I’ve never been much of a puncher, but I’m physically strong. No one has ever pushed me about. If I’d have put it on Darryl, that would have closed the contest out.
“That’s got to be the target this time, so it should stand me in good stead. I’m hoping to put that into my next performance.”
Home favourite Nathan Heaney tops the King’s Hall bill, ahead of further attempts to get a crack at national level.
‘The Hitman,’ who is the reigning Midlands middleweight champion, has raced to nine victories from nine outings, with three TKOs along the way.
That included outpointing Tom Stokes for the vacant area crown in a 10-rounder last year, which formed part of 33 rounds boxed in total during 2019.
Serge Ambomo and Daniel Urbanski, the former a 2012 Olympian and the latter a one-time foe of Gennady Golovkin, were also seen off over the distance.
His last outing and stoppage came against Nelson Altamirano, who folded in the fifth of six scheduled rounds. He’d previously halted Martin Kabrhel and Sean Gorman.
Heaney, now aged 30, debuted in late 2017 with a points whitewash over Darryl Sharp, after a stellar amateur career with South Staffs Boxing Club, who he represented in 90 fights.
Three more paid pugilists from Stoke feature on the under-card with Kieron McLaren, Cole Johnson and Atal Khan set to occupy the home corner.
McLaren is the most experienced, having racked up 12 victories from 14 pro affairs, before taking on Lee Appleyard, who he pushed to a 95-95 draw after 10 rounds.
His one and only defeat then came to Maxi Hughes, in what was an eliminator for English lightweight honours, by fourth round stoppage.
Johnson is another part of the lightweight division and has notched five points successes so far, having taken every round along the way.
Simas Volosinas, Reynaldo Cajina, Dean Evans, Ibrar Riyaz and Dean Jones have been vanquished by Johnson, who is in his third year as a pro.
He previously became a national titleist as an amateur, claiming England Senior Development honours in 2017, as another Orme graduate.
Southpaw Khan is a super lightweight who has his hand raised twice so far, as a pro, remaining unbeaten with no rounds lost going toe-to-toe with Riyaz and Matt ‘MJ’ Hall.
He got his amateur grounding with the Impact Boxing and later Orme gyms, racking up 28 victories from 42 unpaid contests. Caci, Johnson and Khan are all led by Woodvine.
Making the trip from across the Midlands are Connor Parker and Leon Gower, who are from Woodville in Derbyshire and Burton-on-Trent respectively.
Parker is looking to bounce back from a first pro defeat, with Sam Maxwell taking his ‘0’ through a seventh round stoppage for the WBO European super lightweight bauble.
He can redress the balance with a 13th pro success, the most notable of which saw him become Midlands champion at the expense of Kevin Hooper.
The left-hander upset the odds to force the retirement of the experienced Hooper, a former Midlands and English titleist, at the end of the fifth round during their 2018 meeting.
Gower came up short in his attempt at area glory that year with his nemesis, Brad Foster, going on to win British and Commonwealth super bantamweight belts.
He now returns, after missing all of 2019, with a desire to quickly build upon his six wins, with three TKOs already in the bag.
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