By Elliot Foster
Joe Cordina will face a new opponent in his first title fight this weekend.
The Welshman had been set to come up against Andy Townend at the Principality Stadium.
But the former English champion and ex-British title challenger has suffered an injury and will not come up against ‘The Welsh Wizard’ in Cardiff on Saturday.
The vacant WBA International lightweight title will be at stake, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office, as part of the undercard to Anthony Joshua’s WBA Super, IBF and IBO heavyweight title defence against WBO champion Joseph Parker in a unification showdown.
However, 26-year-old Cordina (6-0, 5 KOs) will now come up against Hakim Ben Ali for the belt.
Ben Ali is a 30-year-old Belgian who has a ledger of 19-5 with one early and has previously campaigned at super-featherweight.
He was last in action last October and will face Cordina as part of a stellar supporting cast to Joshua vs. Parker in the heavyweight unification.
David Price looks to put himself back into the mainstream heavyweight picture with a victory over Alexander Povetkin with the WBO International and WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight titles at stake, while Josh Kelly comes up against Carlos Molina for the vacant WBA International welterweight title.
Kelly’s gym-mate Ryan Burnett defends his WBA Super world bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Yonfrez Parejo, while there is lightweight action for Anthony Crolla as well as Welsh pair Morgan Jones and Sean McGoldrick and former Team GB Olympian Joshua Buatsi.
IN OTHER NEWS: - John Gillies has taken on a new role ahead of his next fight.
The Liverpudlian is set to return on Saturday after just over six months out.
Gillies was last in the ring at the ECHO Arena in September, live on ITV4, as part of the undercard to Callum Smith’s World Boxing Super Series quarter-final win over Erik Skoglund.
And he is scheduled to fight next door –– at the BT Convention Centre’s Auditorium –– in a fight on the same bill as Robbie Davies Jr’s challenge of Michal Syrowatka in a rematch for the WBA Continental super-lightweight title.
But the 35-year-old heads into the fight on the back of having bagged himself a new job with the mixed martial arts arm of MTK Global.
Gillies has been appointed as the MMA co-ordinator for Liverpool by the management company behind UFC star Darren Till.
He will oversee fighter recruitment, matchmaking and event organisation in the Merseyside area.
“There is a real opportunity for this city to shine with some fantastic young talent breaking through the ranks,” he said.
Gillies has 20-plus years of experience in combat sports as both an MMA fighter and a boxer.
He added: “I will be doing all I can to showcase these great athletes and I can’t describe how proud I am to be joining the MTK MMA Global team.”
IN OTHER NEWS - MTK Global has confirmed that it is opening a new branch of its brand in the UK as well as a quartet of new signings.
The management company, which has arms in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland –– all of which are thriving –– has revealed that Newcastle will be the next city on its radar.
MTK Newcastle will be headed by Brad Tarren and he is delighted that the North East has been added to the regions in which the MTK brand operates.
“It’s exciting news for fighters in the North East of England as we look to create combat teams under the MTK banner,” he said.
“MTK Newcastle adds to the growing entity of the MTK Global brand and we are certainly excited for the future prospects this opportunity brings.”
And undefeated Scottish super-welterweight duo Kieran Smith and Michael McGurk, as well as former British, Commonwealth, European and world champion Willie Limond along with super-middleweight Padraig McCrory have all signed managerial deals with the outfit.