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Joe Cordina Goes To War & Becomes a Two-Time Super Featherweight Champ

Joe Cordina

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Joe Cordina Goes To War & Becomes a Two-Time Super Featherweight Champ

Huw Fairclough / Contributor

Joe Cordina Goes To War & Becomes a Two-Time Super Featherweight Champ

At Big Fight Weekend, we are just beginning to catch our breath after an exhilarating 24 hours of boxing on both sides of the Atlantic. At the Cardiff International Arena in Wales, Joe Cordina reclaimed the IBF super featherweight title against Shavkatdzhon RakhimovCordina was stripped of the title after he sustained a hand injury in the build-up to a planned defence against Rakhimov. This fight was due to take place on November 5, 2022, on the undercard of the fight between Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez.

Joe Cordina Reclaims the IBF Super Featherweight Title

Cordina was not to be denied in his home city of Cardiff. He had been previously stripped of the IBF crown after sustaining a hand injury in the build-up to his original fight date with Rakhimov in November 2022. It was a glorious homecoming that was a phenomenal advert for boxing as both fighters gave their all. The Welshman would ultimately have his hand raised at the end as he won a hard-fought split decision over his Tajikistani opponent.

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The knockdown in the fifth round was ultimately the deciding factor as judge Phil Edwards scored the bout 114-113 to Cordina. The fight was the main event on the DAZN promotional card, and it lived up to its billing.

A Glorious 12 Rounds

Cardiff, Wales – April 22: Shavkatdzhon Rakhmiov v Joe Cordina, IBF Super-Featherweight World Title Fight.
22 April 2023. Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing.

Cordina showcased his impressive hand speed and slick footwork, which helped him create angles to land meaningful punches throughout the contest. He scored the decisive knockdown in round two, which came from a slick combination and finished with a straight left, sending the Tajikistani fighter to the canvas. Rakhimov showcased his bravery and never stopped walking forward. He also showed impressive hand speed and power, which seemed to stun the home town fighter in round five when he landed a big overhand right. That punch came as a shock to Cordina and forced him to clinch and survive. Cordina showed his heart and desire as he recovered well and landed impressive combinations at the end of round five. 

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Rakhimov never stopped coming forward and maintained power and accuracy throughout the contest. His best work came when he went to the Welshman’s body, but Cordina soaked up the punches well. The Welsh fighter countered almost at will throughout and caused a nasty cut over his opponent’s left eye. The swelling on his eye seemed to ensure Cordina was able to score with hard right handswhich seemed to be landing every time. The Tajikistani man showed his heart and class in round nine as he rallied with effective combinations upstairs and to the body of Cordina.

Both fighters understandably tired in the final few rounds, but the more eye-catching work came from the home fighter. Despite struggling with his eye, Rakhimov bit down and continued to fire off heavy body shots. The final round was pretty even, with Cordina showboating towards the end, which was met with a last-gasp flurry of punches from Rakhimov.

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The judge’s scorecards were: Jude Phil Edwards 114-113 and Jude Pawel Kardyn 115-112 both scoring in favour of Cordina. The card from Judge Alex Levin was wildly different as he scored the bout 116-111 for Rakhimov. Cordina fulfilled his desire to regain his world title, and promoter Eddie Hearn teased us with what’s next for Joe Cordina. “Unification at Cardiff City Stadium, let’s do it.” To become a two time world champion in only his 16th professional fight is an amazing achievement for the Welshman. A unification fight next would be phenomenal for the whole of Wales, and with the heart, desire and boxing IQ of Cordina, he will trouble any fighter.

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Freelance Writer and Digital Marketer, spending most of his time waiting for the Tyson Fury vs Usyk announcement. Also watches YouTube videos of Lennox Lewis fights on a daily basis.

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