Joe Cordina has proven at least in his last two title wins that he is a fighter to the core.

The modest knockout-to-win ratio boasted by the unbeaten, two-time IBF junior lightweight titlist has suggested more boxer than puncher to his game. Cordina has cautioned his next title challenger, San Antonio’s Edward Vazquez, against underestimating what the unbeaten Welshman plans to bring to the ring this weekend.

“People said I didn’t have power; I knocked out [then-IBF junior lightweight titlist Kenichi] Ogawa,” Cordina noted during the final pre-fight press conference ahead of this weekend’s DAZN show in Monte Carlo, Monaco. “They said I could only look pretty and I showed I can dig down deep against [then-IBF titlist Shavkatdzhon] Rakhimov. “If you come to the gym and see how I train and spar, I do that on the daily.

“I’ve beaten some great, great fighters that have won Olympic and World Gold medals. I am the real deal.”

Cardiff’s Cordina (16-0, 9KOs) will attempt the first defense of his IBF title versus Vazquez. His first title reign began and ended with the highlight-reel, second-round knockout of Ogawa last June at home in Cardiff. He was never able to successfully defend as a hand injury prevented him from a desired showdown versus Rakhimov, who won the vacant title in a ninth-round knockout of England’s Zelfa Barrett.

Saturday will mark the first time Cordina gets to enter the ring as a major titleholder. He is a considerable favorite to extend his reign at least through the weekend.

“The Rakhimov fight is the only one I had to come out of first gear,” noted Cordina. “So, me saying you have to be special to beat me, I’m not being cocky. I believe in my ability. I’ve done it time and time again as a pro and all through my 180 amateur fights.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox