Joe Cordina (11-0, 7 KOs) is determined to make up for lost time after recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of the ring since his classy points win over Mario Enrique Tinoco that captured the WBA Continental Super-Featherweight Title at the Casino de Monte-Carlo back in November 2019.
The 'Welsh Wizard' puts that belt on the line against Belgium-based Kyrgyzstani Faroukh Kourbanov (17-2, 3KOs) at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday March 20, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories, and has promised to put the rest of the Super-Featherweight division on notice with a strong performance.
Cordina, who had successfully defended the British and Commonwealth Lightweight Titles against compatriot Gavin Gwynne before dropping to 130lbs, is looking to raise his level of opponents as he hunts World Title action later this year, and the 29-year-old former Team GB standout believes that Kourbanov will bring the best out of him.
“When I first injured my hand, I didn’t think it was going to get back to normal," said Cordina. “But now I’m back training, using it and letting it go. I haven’t had any problems with it at all. It was always at the back of my mind, ‘is it going to be the same as it was before the injury?’. But I’ve come back and I’m just looking to move on and pick up where I left off. I'm looking forward to putting the Super-Featherweight division on notice.
“I’ve watched Kourbanov and he’s a good fighter. He’s only lost to European Champions. My goal is to become a World Champion and I’m not going to stop until I get there. He’s quite a neat boxer. He’s not a big puncher, going off his record, but that’s not saying he can’t punch. He’s been in with some good opposition and he’s lost to good opposition.
“He’s from Kyrgyzstan, boxing out of Belgium, normally they’re good amateurs. I can’t take his boxing skills for granted and think he’s going to be an easy touch. I’m looking forward to it because I know it’s going to be a tough fight. It’s going to be a fight that gets me back into the swing of things. That’s what I want. I don’t want easy fights. I want to be fighting for a World Title by the end of this year. I need someone like Kourbanov to bring the best out of me."
The 29-year-old Asian boxer became the European EU super-featherweight champion four years ago and held the title for over a year before Devis Boschiero defeated him on points.He tried in vain to capture the European super-featherweight title against Samir Ziani in 2019, again losing on points. He bounced back from that brace of championship defeats with a six-round win in December last year.
Cordina vs. Kourbanov is part of a huge night of action in London, Hackney Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (15-0, 12 KOs) attempts to become Britain’s next World Champion in just his sixteenth fight when he clashes with Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO crown, Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (13-1, 10 KOs) returns against Spain's Jorge Fortea (21-2-1, 7 KOs) with the WBA International Title on the line, Bournemouth Cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith (11-1, 10 KOs) looks to keep his KO streak going against Vasil Ducar (9-3-1, 8 KOs), Ramla Ali (1-0) has her second professional fight, Catford's Ellie Scotney (1-0) meets Mailys Gangloff (4-1, 1 KO) and Stretford Middleweight Bradley Rea (9-0, 3 KOs) takes on Bournemouth's Lee Cutler (7-0, 4 KOs).