Anthony Cacace pulls off shock TKO over Joe Cordina for first world title

Anthony Cacace (pictured) won his first major title after shocking Joe Cordina in an eighth-round TKO. Richard Pelham/Getty Images

Anthony Cacace pulled off a shock, eighth-round TKO win when he overwhelmed Joe Cordina for the IBF world junior lightweight title on Saturday.

Cacace (22-1, 8 KOs), 35, from Belfast in Northern Ireland, won his first major world title and ended Cordina's second reign as champion in a second defense on the undercard of the undisputed world heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A pivotal moment in the fight came in the third round, when Cacace caught Cordina with a left hand after referee Bob Williams called for the fighters to break and stop fighting. Cacace then went on the attack and landed a perfect right uppercut and Cordina crashed face first on to the canvas for a count.

Cacace produced the fight of his life and dominated Cordina after flooring the champion in the third round.

Cordina (17-1, 9 KOs), 32, from Cardiff in Wales, got up and his head cleared as he recovered through the fourth round, but Cacace repeatedly nailed the Welshman with right uppercuts.

From then, Cacace went on to land 116 power punches to Cordina's 41 according to CompuBox statistics.

Just 39 seconds into the eighth round, a dominant Cacace overwhelmed Cordina, who was bullied for large periods of the fight from the third round onward.

"I'm in shock," Cacace said. "Joe is a hell of a competitor but I was hurting him with every single shot. The referee said break as I threw a punch, there was nothing dirty about it."

Cordina may now opt to step up to lightweight after some close fights recently. Cordina won a disputed, majority points decision over Edward Vazquez in November after prevailing by a split points verdict against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov earlier last year.

The Welshman made a good start but in the third he seemed stunned by the blow that landed after Williams called the fighters to break. Cacace piled on the pressure and snapped back Cordina's head with a right uppercut that sent the champion down for a count.

Cordina looked in trouble but he recovered through the fourth round. However, Cacace remained on top and he repeatedly landed heavy hooks. Cacace finished the sixth round by landing three successive right uppercuts and in the seventh Cordina took some punishment camped on the ropes.

Cacace landed some big hooks amid a barrage of punches that led to the sensible stoppage and Cordina will now consider stepping up a division to repair the damage of his first professional defeat.