Joe Cordina has been stripped of his IBF super featherweight title just four months after winning it, as he picked up a hand injury which ruled him out his first defence against Shavkat Rakhimov.
Cordina's career had been hampered by hand injuries and in 2019 Cordina took a hiatus from the ring to get surgery on his right hand. Cordina bounced back in 2021 and worked his way to a world title shot. In June 2022, Cordina got his shot at world title glory and grabbed it with both hands as he produced a stunning 2nd round knockout of Kenichi Ogawa in Cardiff to win the IBF title.
When @JoeCordina_91 did this ????pic.twitter.com/OXsBcqgqVe
— Eubank Jr vs. Benn on DAZN (@DAZNBoxing) September 29, 2022
Following the Ogawa victory, Cordina's promoter, Eddie Hearn revealed that Rakhimov had been ordered as Ogawa's mandatory whilst negotiations were taking place for Ogawa vs Cordina, but accepted to step aside for Cordina to have his shot. So, when Cordina won, Hearn stated that Rakhimov would be next. Cordina was pencilled in to make his first defence against Rakhimov on November 5th in Abu Dhabi.
Cordina took to Twitter to reveal that he had picked up an injury, meaning he would be out of the fight. Cordina ambiguously confirmed the news that he'd been stripped, as he claimed that he feels like he's been robbed.
Absolutely gutted ??????????
Worked my whole life to become a world champion and I haven’t even had the chance to defend the title ??????????
Feel like I’ve been robbed !! https://t.co/TILrvTDaAz pic.twitter.com/jVvZeAdaf3
— Joe Cordina OLY (@JoeCordina_91) October 4, 2022
It is unclear what happens next with the IBF belt, Rakhimov is still mandatory so he will likely be in a contest for the vacant belt. The super featherweight now currently only has one world champion in Hector Garcia who won the WBA belt from Roger Gutierrez in August. The WBC and WBO belts are vacant following Shakur Stevenson recently moving up in weight.