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

Joe Cordina hopes to set up a world title unification showdown with Shakur Stevenson by dethroning IBF super-featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa back home in Cardiff this weekend.

The 30-year-old will seek to become the 13th fighter from Wales to clinch world title gold on Saturday when he takes on the Japanese champion, who fights outside his homeland for just the third time.  

Stevenson meanwhile has been making his case to be recognised as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.

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

In search of his next challenge, Stevenson has identified a fellow former Olympian in Cordina as a next possible opponent. ‘I knew who he was already and I’ve been telling people Cordina is the best boxer and he would be the best test, so I would be down for that and it’s a big fight for me,’ he said this month.

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

Cordina, who won British and commonwealth gold at lightweight before moving down in weight in 2019, is chasing more honours and hopes a showdown with Stevenson shifts into focus later this year. For now, however, his focus remains solely on Ogawa.

‘Of course you start to think about unification, I have been shouting for a world title for a long time,’ Cordina told Metro.co.uk.

‘I have had some great honours winning titles up to this point, the British title is a major title and I am glad my name is down in the history books in that respect.

‘But it is all about that world title and for me to win one and then fight for all the belts apart from one [the WBA title held by Roger Gutiérrez] against Stevenson would be massive. That is what I want, I want to be in these big fights, down in the history books for nights like that. I want to have my own Arturo Gatti vs Mickey Ward night.

‘It has been amazing to hear what Shakur has been saying, but of course, I have got a job to do first on Saturday. If I don’t do the business and get the IBF belt, everything else goes away.’

Ogawa won the vacant belt away from home in New York last year (Picture: Getty)

Cordina’s first world title fight comes in what will be just his 15th professional contest, a rise only comparable to a select few, among them the likes of Stevenson and Josh Taylor up at super-lightweight.

Last March, he returned to the ring after a 15-month absence having undergone hand surgery to fix an injury that had plagued him for the previous two years. The problem used to mean Cordina needed up to a month off after a fight to let his hands rest.

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

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

Cordina has been visualising nights like Saturday night for some time and having come through his battles to date unscathed, is ready to lift himself to a new level.

‘I have always said I would fight for the title by my 15th fight,’ Cordina said. ‘I have visualised myself fighting so many different fighters, Stevenson and Ogawa among them, even when I’m shadowboxing. I have visualised myself beating them in different ways.

‘I’m in this position for a reason. If you look at my fights, I have been in so many championship fights and 10 rounders. There is no one that can tell me that I have come out of a fight marked up. Because I haven’t. I just get the job done.’

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

‘The last few weeks, they have been rough, I’m not going to lie to you. A few times I have felt a bit sorry for myself but I know everything that Tony is putting me through will be worth it on the night.

‘I have had a hard, 12-13 weeks and I’m looking to put all those hard sessions and the graft into fight night. I am sure it is going to pay off.’


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