Joe Cordina Is British Boxing's Most Under-Appreciated World Champion

The Welsh star returns this weekend
13:00, 03 Nov 2023

IBF super featherweight champion Joe Cordina makes the first defence of his title this weekend against Edward Vazquez. By rights, this should be the Welshman’s second defence of the belt he was ridiculously stripped of last year. Cordina knocked the talented Kenichi Ogawa out in two rounds to win this title in March 2022. But just five months later he was stripped of the belt due to an injury. Considering some current boxing champions haven’t fought for over a year, it was a baffling decision.

Cordina won back his title at the first time of asking, defeating the unbeaten champion Shavkat Rakhimov via unanimous decision in April of this year. It was one of the best wins by a British fighter in 2023 and it came in one of the year’s most exciting fights. But you still don’t hear as much about Joe Cordina as you should.

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Part of the reason the gifted Welshman is faced with relative obscurity outside his home country is the stop-start nature of his reign. He had barely bedded in as world champion before the IBF stupidity stripped him of the belt. Perhaps if Cordina was preparing for his second title defence, the mainstream world would have got used to him as world champion by now. 

There is also the literally small matter of the weight. Super featherweight has hosted some of the most gifted fighters in the game, but it is not a front-page concern in the same way heavyweight, middleweight and welterweight are. The roll call of Brits who have held a 130lb world title is a gifted one. Barry Jones, Alex Arthur, Nicky Cook and Ricky Burns have reigned at this weight. But none of those boxers has enjoyed the cultural cache of a Tyson Fury, Joe Calzaghe or Ricky Hatton.

Those that have watched him won’t need me to tell them this, but for those unfamiliar, Cordina has everything you would want out of a British boxing star. A rabid local following, with Cardiff International Arena rocking every time he fights there. Cordina brings excitement, with some blistering knockouts on his resume. He’s also beating some of the very best in the world such as Ogawa and Rakhimov. What’s not to like?

The Vazquez fight probably won’t put Cordina over the top in terms of public renown. The fight is taking place in Monaco, which is often something of an island when it comes to big boxing attention. Vazquez is a tough fighter but not a mainstream name. The fact his only loss came to the very gifted Raymond Ford tells you how much ability he has. But he isn’t of the profile Cordina needs to truly transcend. 

But an impressive win here could set Cordina up for a big 2024. He has the ability, personality and crowd-pleasing style to be one of the top stars of British boxing. As we’re starting to see with the talented Sunny Edwards, sometimes a larger platform is all that’s needed. Fights with the other champions in 2024 could really kick Cordina’s career into the mainstream. But for now, make sure you’re in front of a telly on Saturday. Cordina is set to take Monaco by storm.

cordina vs vazquez odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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