Joe Cordina faces IBF super featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa in Cardiff
Joe Cordina could become the 13th Welsh world champion in history this weekend as he squares off with IBF super featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa, in Cordina's hometown of Cardiff this Saturday.
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Cordina will raise the curtain to a bumper weekend of sport in the Welsh capital, as the day after his challenge, the biggest game in Welsh football history takes place with Wales looking to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958, so Cordina will be wanting to raise the spirit of a nation the night before by lifting a world title.
Cordina turned pro in 2017 following a successful amateur career which culminated in representing Team GB in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Cordina turned over with Matchroom Boxing and made his debut in Liverpool, where he knocked Jose Aguilar in four.
Opportunity arose for Cordina in his second bout as he opened the card in Wembley for Anthony Joshua Vs Wladimir Klitschko. Cordina impressed as he stopped Sergej Vib in one round. Cordina's first title came in his seventh bout, as he knocked Hakim Ben Ali out in three rounds at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to win the WBA international lightweight title.
Cordina was then given the headline act of a JD NXTGEN bill, as he challenged for the vacant Commonwealth title against the seasoned pro Sean Dodd at the Ice Arena in Cardiff. Cordina went the distance and won the Commonwealth title via a wide decision. Cordina added the British title in his next bout as he stopped Andy Townend in six rounds.
Cordina opted to move down to the super featherweight division, and instantly threw himself into the deep end as he took on Mario Enrique Tinoco. Tinoco was coming off an upset victory over Jordan Gill so was seen as a tough challenge. However, Cordina passed the test with a points win. Cordina was given a tough test by Faroukh Kourbanov in his next bout, as he won by majority decision. However, Cordina silenced any potential doubters when he brutally stopped Joshuah Hernandez in a round next time out.
Ogawa turned professional way back in 2010, as he fought in his home country of Japan for an early portion of his career. Disaster struck for Ogawa in his ninth fight as he was handed his first loss as he was stopped in the fifth round by Yuki Miyoshi. Ogawa would avenge this loss two fights later as he knocked Miyoshi out in a round.
The Japanese super featherweight title came for Ogawa in his 18th fight as he got a technical decision over Rikki Naito. Ogawa would would go on to defend this title five times, including a unanimous decision victory in a rematch with Naito.
Ogawa would fight outside Japan for the first time in his career in 2017 as he got a shot at the vacant IBF world super featherweight title against Tevin Farmer. Ogawa won the title via split decision, but was stripped of the belt due to testing positive for banned substance Androstandiol. The result was also changed to a no contest.
Ogawa returned to the ring in 2019, as he defeated Roldan Aldea by unanimous decision. Ogawa took on Joe Noynay two fights later, but the bout was declared a technical draw after Noynay sustained a nasty cut following an accidental headbutt.
In 2021, Ogawa was given the opportunity to yet again fight for the vacant IBF title, this time against Azinga Fuzile. Ogawa got the unanimous decision after dropping Fuzile in both the fifth and twelfth round to pick up the world title.
Ogawa now travels to Cardiff to take on Cordina as his first defence of his world title. Cordina will be looking to pick up his first world title, but Ogawa is a very tough champion, and the pair have styles that should gel perfectly for an exciting fight. The bout takes place in the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, and will be live on DAZN on Saturday night.