Forward of the largest combat of his professional profession, Joe Cordina explains why shedding weight has made him more potent as he units his attractions on turning into a PPV megastar. Via Glynn Evans
JOE CORDINA makes this outdated boxing lark glance simple. However the 30-year-old Cardiffian categorically claims it's been the rest however. A doting father of 3, the 2014 Commonwealth Video games bronze medallist, 2015 Eu novice champion and Rio Olympian sacrificed seven-and-a-half onerous years on nationwide carrier on the Workforce GB set-up in Sheffield and, for the previous 5, has remoted himself in Brentwood, Essex in pursuit of the pugilistic perfection he hopes will in the end ship a bounty.
“I ignored out utterly on my overdue teenagers and early 20s, all of the a laugh I noticed friends having. I’ve by no means been on a lads’ vacation in my lifestyles. I’ve needed to be so strict,” states “The Welsh Wizard”, undefeated in 14 paid outings since losing his singlet in April 2017.
“It’s so onerous leaving my missus [Lauren] and youngsters [Sophia, Valentina-Rose and Joseph]. I’ve ignored birthdays, ignored observing them learn how to move slowly, take their first steps. However I simply plod on, realizing God is with me. Expectantly, long-term, I will give my children the whole lot they would like and extra.”
However the suave switch-hitter is now at the cusp of reaping dividends following his 12 years of purgatory. This Saturday, June 4, in his house town, he confronts Eastern belt-holder Kenichi Ogawa, the fifth-ranked 130-pounder on the earth and the landlord of the IBF strap.
“I mentioned in previous interviews that I anticipated to be difficult for an international belt by way of my fifteenth combat and right here we're. Excellent issues occur to excellent other people. It’s a bit of of God’s paintings in addition to mine,” he says. “If it hadn’t been for Covid and accidents, I may also have challenged in my thirteenth combat. Other folks have to grasp that I had an terrible lot of 10-12 week camps when I used to be finding out, growing. I felt able after beating [Mario Enrique] Tinoco in overdue 2019.”
Among the simon-pures, Cordina carved his area of interest as an evasive back-foot contortionist able to warding off extended battle in any respect prices. His next evolution into international contender after simply 14 paid assignments has subsequently been spectacular.
“I’m very happy with my collection of manager-trainer,” says Cordina who fought a scheduled 10-rounder in his 7th get started and a 12-round Commonwealth (light-weight) championship in his 8th.
‘Tony Sims has taken a variety of warring parties to international degree sooner than me so clearly is aware of what he’s doing. He merits massive credit score for buying me to twelve around degree inside of 16 months of my debut.
“As an novice, I used to be a counter puncher, at all times shifting. And I’ve retained that pace and foot motion even though I’ve now not truly had to convey it out but [as a pro].
“On the other hand, I used to be totally conscious that, with that taste, I’d fight to remaining 4 onerous rounds with most sensible execs whipping in the ones frame photographs. If truth be told, within the amateurs, I used to be knackered after two rounds so I’d at all times attempt to win the primary two then litter in the course of the 3rd.
“However from my earliest [pro] camps, I used to be sparring 36 mins, on occasion doing 4 minute rounds with the likes Of Conor [Benn] and Martin J. Ward. Via my 7th camp, I used to be sparring 14 rounds immediately off. It was once difficult.
“From the off, Tony ordered me to review what [ex-housemate] Ricky Burns did and are living the similar [way]. We've got a brutal run which we name the Triangle and Ricky would at all times say, ‘Come on, yet one more [circuit].’ On the other hand drained I used to be, I’d fit him.
“Ricky’s a pleasant man however, sparring, he’d hit me at the again of the top, tough me up, and I needed to learn how to forget about it, retain focus. It was once in fact a praise. He later defined if he stood off and attempted to field, he’d now not get close to me. We realized so much from each and every different.
“All the way through lockdown, Tony fed me numerous tapes from most sensible warring parties, now not simply provide day but in addition from the 50s, 60s, 70s and on a daily basis I’d find out about what were given them to the extent they’re at and check out to incorporate that into my arsenal. I’ve realized to take a seat in shut, combat inside of, combat going ahead, punch tougher. However I’ve additionally turn out to be a bit of cuter, realized to suppose my manner across the ring.”
All the way through his opening two years within the career, working up at light-weight, Joe cruised to 10-0 whilst profitable British and Commonwealth titles. Having cited keeping up 60KG (a colour over 9st 6lbs) for his underachievement on the 2016 Olympics, it was once a surprise when he opted to drop to 130lbs following a gruelling British light-weight defence in opposition to compatriot Gavin Gwynne in overdue 2019 (w pts 12).
“The combat wasn’t particularly onerous – again then I most effective had one [good] hand – however it dawned that Gavin was once so much larger bodily and whilst I may just fit him for energy, I sensed that will not be the case with lightweights at international degree,” says the Cardiffian. “For light-weight name fights with [Andy] Townend and Gwynne, I used to be in a position to prevent coaching the Wednesday sooner than weigh-in. I used to be making weight a ways too simply so we gave super-feather a tribulation run in opposition to Tinoco. It’s now not simple however I’m now not hanging my frame at hurt. 130 is the appropriate weight for me.
“I’m now in a position to chuck combatants round, one thing I couldn’t do within the Gwynne combat. At 135, you listen of ‘Rolly’ [Rolando] Romero coming down from 180lbs. Massive! I will’t fit that, energy smart.”
Over the following 32 months, the streamlined Cordina carried out publicly 4 occasions, prospering in a trinity of most sensible grade 10-rounders with aforementioned Mexican hardcase Tinico (a stoppage conqueror of Jordan Gill on those shores), present Eu super-feather czar Faraoukh Kourbanov plus 13-0 Belgian Miko Khatchatryan, spats that helped him acclimatise in opposition to international degree.
“That’s what managers are for; choosing the right fights on the proper time. That’s why Tony’s the most efficient available in the market,” claims Cordina, who outpointed all 3.
“Every time I needed to truly push so it wouldn’t be an issue shifting again as much as 12 rounds, if wanted. I spar four-minute rounds anyway.
“Tinico was once hardest; trickier and tougher punching than the others. I couldn’t make any errors. On the other hand, for rounds 8 thru 10 my dimension at super-feather started to inform and he began to wilt. Kourbanov was once like a spar. I struggled to let my arms move however the 16 months out didn’t lend a hand.”
Between, he burnt up Chicago’s 10-3 Joshuah Hernandez with a unmarried slug from his maligned proper mitt, registering his 8th stoppage whilst brushing aside doubts about his energy.
“Glance, I do know I’m now not a one-punch kayo artist however my stoppage share after 14 fights isn't dissimilar to Devin Haney’s or George Kambosos on the identical level in their careers and nobody says they may be able to’t punch,” says Cordina whose spitefulness is undervalued.
“It baffles me. I most effective had one [good] hand for my remaining 3 fights at light-weight. What I do have is superb timing and my punches are gonna harm, take their toll over a 12-round combat.
“The likes of Lee Selby and Paulie Malinaggi weren’t punchers however their skillsets took them to international titles and now not many have a greater skillset than me. Loss of energy will have been a topic with the light-weight elite however it received’t be at 130.”
Long run, the 30-year-old aspires to PPV stadium fights and, following the retirement of Lee Selby, there's a very sturdy case that he's at this time the Principality’s premier prize-fighter. On the other hand, you’d be forgiven for now not noticing such is the paucity of exposure he has generated in Wales. “It’s simply my character. I don’t love to be identified, don’t need to be well-known,” concedes Cordina. “If I known as everybody out, other people would quickly get started writing about me. However that’s now not me. No one has unhealthy issues to mention about me as a result of I’m a pleasant man, respectful. I’ve time for everybody. I need to be favored, slightly than making an fool of myself at the tele. I simply need to achieve my objectives, win an international name, make my cash, then loosen up with my circle of relatives. I intend bowing out with all my colleges and residing a pleasant lifestyles.”
Adore it or now not, he reveals himself entrance level and centre at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Area on Saturday 4th June, for what's going to be simply his fourth flip in his house nation. Two times he served as a prelim act in Anthony Joshua heavyweight name fights on the nationwide stadium however, when he headlined in a Commonwealth problem to Birkenhead’s Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd on the town’s Ice Area in August 2018, the corridor was once slightly half of complete. Nonetheless, he anticipates a cauldron come combat evening.
“The former time, it was once all a bit of rushed and compelled,” he claims. “Of Welsh warring parties, there was once most effective my name combat plus Sean McGoldrick in opposition to a journeyman. I’ve come far from that. My enhance base is a ways larger and I be expecting it to be rammed. We’ve had slightly 4 weeks to advertise this however I’ve already shifted 600 tickets.
“It’s a bit of disturbing however you simply must embody it. What may well be higher than profitable an international name on your place of origin? It’s a large merit for me and I’m truly thankful for the chance. It may well be my remaining alternative so I've to clutch it with each arms.
“I’ve at all times sought after to convey ‘big-time’ boxing again to Cardiff. Lee [Selby] was once from Barry so he may just’ve in-built Cardiff and given younger Welsh warring parties some huge alternatives on TV presentations however as a substitute he went with the cash and defended in a foreign country.
“I’ve already boxed two times on the Millennium Stadium and in addition at Wembley Stadium on ‘AJ’ undercards, plus Bramall Lane in Sheffield so now my dream is to combat at Cardiff Town Stadium. I’m a large Bluebirds fan and I’ve been invited directly to the pitch thrice and into the converting rooms. Every time, I were given a depraved reception.”
In preparation, the 5ft 9in South Walian has deployed considerably heavier spar arms in Robbie Davies Jnr, Alfie Iciness and Shiloh Defreitas and, in tandem with Sims, has been deep in reconnaissance devising a approach to overhaul the 34-year-old belt-holder who has misplaced simply as soon as in 29 (one draw, one No Contest) and boasts a cautionary 18 early endings.
“I’m mindful to not set plans by way of what my opponent did in earlier fights in opposition to other opposition with other kinds to me,” disclosed Cordina. “Kenichi’s were given excellent ft going ahead, a excellent boxing IQ. He brings speedy arms and obviously he’s a large hitter.
“However I by no means discuss of doubt. That is my probability to modify my lifestyles, alternate my circle of relatives’s lifestyles and put myself within the historical past books. He doesn’t appear to love combating at the inside of or going backwards. From the whole lot I’ve observed on-line, he does the similar issues, throws the similar photographs. There’s a couple of issues I intend to milk.
“Ok, he’s received at Madison Sq. Lawn and fought neatly in Vegas however he’ll in finding Cardiff so much other to the USA with all my fanatical house enhance.
“I’ve offered 150 ringside [tickets] already and the ones fanatics shall be proper on him from the beginning. They’ll now not make it delightful for him. He’s actually getting into the Dragon’s Den.
“I’ll have to completely listen always. One blink and it may well be lighting out for me however it’s my goal to win conveniently. I simply imagine my boxing skill is wider than what his is.
“A stoppage can be sensible. That may marvel a couple of boxing other people however it indubitably wouldn’t marvel me or Tony.”