Joe Cordina has the opportunity to become a two-time IBF Super-Featherweight World Champion when he faces current belt-holder Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in what promises to be an electric night of boxing at the Cardiff International Arena on Saturday April 22, live worldwide on DAZN (excluding Australia and New Zealand).
“I saw Rakhimov in Abu Dhabi and he’s certainly a good fighter,” said Cordina. “I respect him, he’s strong and tough but you need to have a more than that to beat me. I never lost my belt in the ring, so my mindset is that I’m going to be walking in as the champion and leaving as the champion. Last time out the fans were unreal, and I can’t wait to experience that incredible atmosphere again in Cardiff.”
‘The Welsh Wizard’ (15-0, 9 KOs) captured the famous red and gold belt with a stunning one-punch knockout of Japan’s Kenichi Ogawa on a memorable night at the arena last June to become his country’s latest World Champion.
Cordina was scheduled to make the first defence of his World Title against Rakhimov in Abu Dhabi last November but suffered a hand injury that required surgery and was subsequently stripped of his title by the IBF.
Tajikistan’s Rakhimov (17-0-1, 14 KOs) won the vacant title by stopping Manchester’s Zelfa Barrett in nine rounds on the undercard of Dmitry Bivol vs. Gilberto Ramirez, and the 28-year-old southpaw is relishing the challenge of defending his crown in Cordina’s backyard.
Welsh rivals Gavin Gwynne (15-2-1, 3 KOs) and Craig Woodruff (12-6-1, 4 KOs) will rematch for the British Lightweight Title following their thrilling draw at the Bolton Whites Hotel last September and Manchester Cruiserweight Jordan Thompson (14-0, 11 KOs) puts his IBF European Title on the line against Swindon’s Luke Watkins (16-2, 11 KOs) – with more undercard fights to be announced soon.
“I cannot wait for Rakhimov against Cordina at the Cardiff International Arena,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “Last time out it was an incredible night as Joe was crowned the new IBF Super-Featherweight World Champion with a sensational one-punch knockout win over Ogawa – this time it’s going to be even bigger and better.
“This is a massive night for Welsh boxing and for Joe Cordina. He has a straight shot to become a two-time World Champion without ever losing his belt in the ring. We saw Rakhimov in an unbelievable fight with Zelfa Barrett in Abu Dhabi and I’m expecting another great fight on April 22.
“Gavin Gwynne puts his British Lightweight Title on the line for the second time against Newport’s Craig Woodruff following their thrilling draw in September and Manchester Cruiserweight contender Jordan Thompson returns as he puts his IBF European Title on the line against Swindon’s Luke Watkins. There’s plenty more to come as we gear up for another electric night in Cardiff!”