New Faces: Joe Cordina
Hometown: Cardiff, Wales
Weight class: Lightweight
Height/ Reach: 5-feet-9 (175 cm)
Amateur record: 157-28 roughly
Turned pro: 2017
Pro record: 7-0 (6 knockouts)
Trainer: Tony Sims
Manager: Tony Sims
Promoter: Matchroom Boxing
Best night of pro career: Cordina is most pleased with his most recent outing, a third round stoppage over usually sturdy Hakim Ben Ali, last March.
“I’d have to say at the Principality (Stadium) on the (Anthony) Joshua-(Joseph) Parker bill,” Cordina told The Ring, “because I won my first (regional) title in the national stadium.”
Worst night of pro career: He didn’t have such a good experience last October at the Principality Stadium, when he fought on another Anthony Joshua undercard, in the sometimes tricky swing bout.
“It was meant to be a 10-round title fight, and it got moved down because of opponents pulling out,” he said. “I ended up fighting a four-round fight with a journeyman (Lesther Cantillano), and rushed it and tried to get him out of there and forced everything. I got the win but it wasn’t how I wanted it.”
Next fight: Cordina will fight in the main event against Sean Dodd, for the vacant Commonwealth 135-pound title, at the Ice Arena, Cardiff, on Saturday.
“I’m in a fight,” said the 26-year-old prospect. “It is my toughest fight to date. It’s the fight that is going to push me, and bring the best out of me; I feel. He’s going to be a test, and I am looking forward to having that test.
“It doesn’t add pressure to me. I’ve fought twice at the national stadium, and the first time walked out in front of 70,000 people. There’s no pressure like going to the Olympic Games and being a medal hope, and having that sit on my shoulders. I’m looking forward to it.”
Dodd (15-3-1, 3 knockouts) is by far the most experienced fighter Cordina has faced since turning pro. The 34-year-old from Merseyside turned professional in 2012.
He won his first eight before being stopped in seven rounds against Andy Townend. “Masher” bounced back with two wins, including one over Gary Buckland to set up a British title challenge. He gave Scott Cardle all he could handle but was stopped in the final round, while ahead on two scorecards. The pair were back in unison, five months later, only for the rematch to end in a draw.
To his credit, Dodd rebounded, winning four bouts, one against Lee Appleyard, and then upsetting former Great Britain team captain Tom Stalker for the Commonwealth title last year. However in his most recent outing, Dodd was stopped by Tommy Coyle in six rounds.
Dodd will provide Cordina with a different look, and come to win; however Cordina will expect to be in command by the second half of the bout, and get a stoppage in the later rounds.
Why he’s a prospect: Cordina was a hugely successful amateur, winning a slew of domestic titles. Over the past few years, he’s regularly represented Wales and Great Britain at various international tournaments.
He won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and gold at the European Championships a year later. He competed in three World Championships, and his best result was reaching the quarterfinals in the 2015 tournament. He also represented his country on the grandest stage of all, the 2016 Olympics, reaching the round of 16.
“It’s helped me come into the pros,” Cordina said. “They have pushed me along quick, and going to the Olympics and all these different styles and boxing in the (World Series of Boxing) has helped me to adapt to the pro game a lot quicker.”
Cordina fought four times, in the semi-professional World Series of Boxing, going 2-2.
He has notable wins over 2017 World Championship gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist Sofiane Oumiha, David Oliver Joyce, and vastly experienced amateur stalwart Domenico Valentino.
Since making the switch to the professional ranks, Cordina has twice visited America, once to Miami, for 10 days, and the second time to Los Angeles, for two weeks. During that time he has sparred at the Wild Card Boxing Club and Robert Garcia’s gym against fellow prospects Erick De Leon, George Kambosos, Hector Tanajara Jr. and Hiroki Okada, as well as experienced former world title challenger Michael Farenas.
Cordina has also enjoyed high-class sparring with former three-division champions Jorge Linares and gym mate Ricky Burns.
The talented fighter feels his best attribute is his boxing brain: “As an amateur I was an out-and-out counterpuncher. I wouldn’t hold my feet. Since I’ve been pro, I’ve worked on other things ’cause I know I can do that.
“Now I’m a great inside fighter, and if I have to get into a tussle, that’s what I can do. I can also box on the back foot. My boxing brain, how I can adapt, I think is probably my best asset.”
Why he’s a suspect: There are no obvious flaws in Cordina’s game. At 26 years old, with his amateur pedigree, he’s studied many things that have allowed him to move relatively quickly.
The fight with Dodd is a step up. Cordina will be fighting a 12-round contest in just his eighth fight. He’ll likely need a couple of domestic fights before again stepping up. The lightweight division is thriving in the U.K., and that competition will bring out the best in the Welshman.
Although Cordina has stopped six of the seven men he’s faced so far, as the competition increases, it’s likely his boxing ability will come to the forefront. Like all young pros, he will have to deal with adversity. So far he’s yet to face any in the pro ranks, though that is to be expected, at this point.
“Everything, no one’s perfect in boxing,” Cordina said. “You can always improve on everything.”
Storylines: Cordina was born and raised in the St. Mellons area of Cardiff. He is the one of four children. His extended family is extremely big; his mother was one of 15. His grandmother was on the “One Show” because she had over 180 grandchildren. His father’s side is also large.
As a youngster Cordina played rugby and soccer. In the off-season, he went to the boxing gym to stay fit, and things spiraled from there.
Cordina grew up admiring the talents of Sugar Ray Leonard, and his favorite active fighters are Canelo Alvarez and Jorge Linares.
He is engaged and has two children. He spends the week living in Essex, in an annex on the side of his manager/trainer Tony Sims’ house with Ricky Burns.
Away from boxing, Cordina enjoys soccer, and supports Manchester United and Cardiff City. Cordina also has a passion for food. He likes to cook and visit nice restaurants. He actually went to college, and considered going to Pâtisserie school. However he didn’t feel boxing and pastry preparation went hand in hand, and turned in his oven mitts in favor of boxing gloves.
March 31 – Hakim Ben Ali – TKO 3
December 13 – Lee Connelly – TKO 4
October 28 – Lesther Cantillano – PTS 4
September 1 – Jamie Speight – TKO 1
May 27 – Josh Thorne – RTD 1
April 29 – Sergej Vib – TKO 1
April 22 – Jose Aguilar – TKO 4
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