Joe Cordina believes he will be too much for best version of Edward Vazquez
Joe Cordina will make his first defense of his IBF junior lightweight title when he faces Edward Vazquez on Saturday at the opulent Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Cordina, The Ring’s No. 4-rated junior lightweight, hopes to draw inspiration by fighting in such a luxurious place.
“I love Monaco, I’ve been there before, I boxed there in 2019, it was a great show, great vibe, it was a bit different to what I’m used to but it was great nevertheless,” Cordina (16-0, 9 knockouts) told The Ring
“I like the finer things in life and me just walking around Monte Carlo, you see your Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, yachts, people with $150,000, $200,000 grand watches on. I know that’s not everything but its a bit of motivation for the people like me to strive to achieve great things and be able to afford things like that. It’s a bit of a push for me to see stuff like that is always nice.”
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) September 11, 2023
The 31-year-old Cardiff-born fighter appreciates that his opponent has nothing to lose and everything to gain from their meeting.
“He’s tough, he’s game, he’s strong and he comes forward,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure I’m on the ball, don’t take my eye off him, make sure I’m sharp, make sure every box is ticked. Make sure I do the best I can do and I think the best Joe Cordina will beat the best Edward Vazquez.”
To prepare for his opponent Cordina has as usual decamped to the outskirts of London where he works under the watchful eye of Tony Sims, who also trains amongst others John Ryder and Conor Benn.
The Welshman freely admits it’s not ideal to be away from his long-time partner and their children but it’s a necessary evil.
“It’s tough, I’ve been doing it for so long that its second nature to me,” he said. “I said to my missus and it’s quite bad when I think about it, ‘I can’t really commit to you and my kids at this present moment while I’m still involved in my career.’ If I go to the park and seeing them enjoying themselves the last think I want to do is be leaving them. I know it’s a selfish thing but its the sacrifice I’ve got to make to keep me hungry, pushing and striving to provide for them.”
He needed all of that hunger to gut out and regain his IBF title with a hard fought but thrilling 12-round split decision against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in April.
“[My first] 15 fights I never got out of first gear and my last fight against Rakhimov was the only fight which I had to get out of first gear,” he said. “It was another side of my game that I’ve shown and people got to see. It was good for the whole of Wales that was behind me and British boxing fans, it was good for them to watch also.”
There had been talk of Cordina facing fellow British fighter such as Zelfa Barrett and Anthony Cacace in his maiden defense. However, that was never something that he contemplated.
“I’ve just had potentially Knockout of The Year and potentially Fight of The Year, two world title fights back-to-back and you think I’m going to take a step back to fight a domestic fight for not the best money – it doesn’t make sense,” he said. “So, yeah, certain people want it, we all want big things, I want to be involved in a seven figure fight but its not as easy as that, we can all want opportunities but life isn’t straight forward, especially boxing. There’s a lot of politics in boxing, certain promoters don’t want to work with other promoters, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t know about.
“Why would I take a step backwards to get less money for potentially a harder fighter? Or a harder fight and get paid way more and a bigger profile and potentially another belt. Some peoples logic doesn’t work. It just wasn’t the right thing to do at that point. If the money was better, 100 percent I’d take it because I’m providing for my family.
“People can shout and cry, whatever they want but if it don’t make sense to me, I’m the champion, unless it’s my mandatory, if it doesn’t make money it doesn’t make sense.”
One British fighter that does whet Cordina’s appetite is Leigh Wood, who recently vacated his WBA featherweight title after a stunning come from behind knockout over former two-time titlist Josh Warrington.
“One hundred percent, he’s mentioned my name, I’m happy to do that,” he said of his promotional stablemate. “It should be an easy fight to make. The only other thing is where is it going to be. Is it going to be in Cardiff or is it going to be in Nottingham?
“That’s down to [promoter] Eddie [Hearn], if Eddie wants me to go there, he has to pay me big money. Or he can pay me big money and do it in Cardiff but I’m the champion, whatever I say goes.”
The challenger is a solid opponent but Cordina figures to be a class above and I feel will grow into the fight and win a late stoppage or a fairly wide unanimous decision.
Vazquez (15-1, 3 KOs) turned professional in 2016. The 28-year-old went unbeaten in his first 11 fights before dropping a close decision to Raymond Ford (SD 10). The Texan has rebounded with four wins, notably edging past Viktor Slavinskyi (SD 8), Misael Lopez (SD 10) but showed his class when he bested Brayan De Gracia (UD 10).
Cordina-Vazquez, plus undercard bouts, will be broadcast on DAZN at 2:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m. PT. and 7 p.m. GMT.
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