Joe Cordina will finally get to defend his IBF super featherweight title when he takes on Edward Vazquez in Monte Carlo on November 4th.
Cordina (16-0, 9 KO’s) first won the IBF title in June 2022 by knocking out Kenichi Ogawa in spectacular fashion before being quickly and harshly stripped when a serious hand injury forced him to withdraw from a mandatory defense against Shavkat Rakhimov. He regained the belt in April by outpointing Rakhimov in a thrilling fight of the year candidate.
The initial plan was for Cordina to unify the 130lb division with WBC champion, O’Shaquie Foster. It quickly became apparent that money constraints would prevent that fight from taking place and Cordina then found himself heavily linked to an all-British title defense against either Zelfa Barrett or Anthony Cacace. Unable to agree on the date or venue for such a clash and with financial terms again a stumbling block, the idea was scrapped. Cordina will instead defend his belt against Vazquez (15-1, 3 KO’s) and push for a big fight in early 2024.
"They keep going on about domestic fights. Them domestic fights are always gonna be there,” Cordina told BoxingScene. “The chance to unify and move up a weight and challenge for another title at the weight above isn’t gonna be there all the time. Look at Amir Khan and Kell Brook. That should have happened six or seven years ago, maybe longer than that. At the end of their careers in both of their last fights, that’s when that domestic fight happened and they both made money. They will always be there. For them to happen now, they can sit on the backburner.
“When I’m ready, that’s when they’ll happen. For me, it’s about making sure that after this fight I have a big money fight as the next one.”
Cordina has established himself as one of the top super featherweights in the world but he craves the money and renown generated by the greats, those who unify divisions and move through the weight classes.
Unification matches with any of the leading lights in the 130lb division - WBO champion, Emanuel Navarette, WBC boss, O’Shaquie Foster and WBA title holder, Hector Garcia - would be exciting, high profile events and the lightweight division is arguably the most star-laden in the entire sport. Cordina has plenty to get his teeth into but there remains one potential domestic match-up that could satisfy him enough financially to get him to put his long term goals on hold for a few months.
“It’s not about cleaning out the whole division although I do want to. I want to become a unified world champion but I also want to dare to be a two-weight world champion,” Cordina said. “Have a crack at it and mix with these big names and make big money. I know that the winner of the Leigh Wood and Josh Warrington is a big money fight but if it came down to the chance to unify or them? That domestic fight would tempt me because I know it’s a big money fight. Moneywise it’d probably trump the unification. It’s a tricky one for me. It just depends how I’m feeling at that point. You’ve gotta catch me in the right mood I suppose.”