Joe Cordina reacts to Shakur Stevenson’s fight offer ahead of the duel with Kenichi Ogawa

Joe Corordina

Stevenson named Cordina as a possible next opponent (Image: Matchroom/Getty)

Joe Cordina is hoping to stage a world title unification showdown with Shakur Stevenson at home in Cardiff this weekend by dethroning IBF super featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa.

The 30-year-old wants to be 13thth Welsh fighter will claim world title gold on Saturday when he takes on the Japanese champions, who are fighting only for the third time outside their home country.

Stevenson, meanwhile, has campaigned to be recognized as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

After becoming a two-weight world champion last October at just 24, the American sensation unified the WBO and WBC titles after a dominant win over Oscar Valdez in Las Vegas earlier this month, cementing his place at the top of the 130- lbs division .

Looking for his next challenge, Stevenson has identified another former Olympian in Cordina as his next possible opponent. “I already knew who he was and I was telling people that Cordina is the best boxer and he was going to be the best test so I would be ready for that and it’s a big fight for me,” he said this month .

Cordina challenges for the IBF super featherweight title (Image: Mark Robinson Matchroom)

Cordina, who won British and Commonwealth lightweight gold before shedding weight in 2019, is chasing more honors and hoping a showdown with Stevenson later this year will come into focus. For now, however, his focus remains solely on Ogawa.

“Of course you start thinking about reunification, I’ve been screaming for a world title for a long time,” said Cordina

“Up to this point I’ve had some great honors of winning titles, the British title is an important title and I’m glad my name is in the history books in that regard.

“But it’s all about this world title and me winning one and then fighting for all the belts but one [the WBA title held by Roger Gutiérrez] against Stevenson would be massive. That’s what I want, I want to be in these big fights, go down in the history books for nights like this. I want to have my own night between Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward.

“It was amazing to hear what Shakur said but of course I have a job to do first on Saturday. If I don’t do the deal and get the IBF belt, everything else goes away.”

Ogawa won the vacant belt away in New York last year (Image: Getty)

Cordin’s first world title fight comes in his 15th yearth professional competition, a rise comparable to only a select few including Stevenson and Josh Taylor at super lightweight.

He returned to the ring last March after a 15-month absence after undergoing hand surgery to repair an injury that had plagued him for the past two years. The issue used to mean that Cordina needed up to a month off after a fight to get his hands on rest.

Cordina showed his injury was behind him that night with a win over Faroukh Kourbanov before a devastating first-round KO win over Joshua Hernandez last August showed the power he carries in the same right hand that’s under the knife went.

Stevenson handed Valdez the first loss of his career (Image: Getty)

Cordina has been visualizing nights like Saturday night for a while now, and having survived his previous struggles unscathed, he’s ready to take himself to the next level.

“I always said I would fight for the title until my 15th fight,” Cordina said. “I envisioned myself fighting so many different fighters including Stevenson and Ogawa even if I’m shadow boxing. I imagined hitting them in different ways.

“I’m in this position for a reason. If you look at my fights, I’ve been in so many championship fights and 10 all-rounders. There is no one who can tell me I got out of a marked fight. Because I haven’t. I’m just getting the job done.”

After striving to make up for lost time, this will be Cordina’s fourth fight in 14 months and he admits he’s headed into fight week after enduring the toughest fight camp of his career overseen by head trainer Tony Sims becomes.

“The last few weeks have been tough, I’m not going to lie to you. I felt a little sorry for myself a few times, but I know that whatever Tony puts me through will be worth it tonight.

“I’ve had a tough 12-13 weeks and want to put all those tough sessions and the graft into fight night. I’m sure it will pay off.”

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boxing Joe Cordina reacts to Shakur Stevenson's fight offer ahead of the duel with Kenichi Ogawa

Nate Jones

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