Classy Joe Cordina collects Commonwealth title against Birkenhead’s brave Sean Dodd

Classy Joe Cordina collects Commonwealth title against Birkenhead’s brave Sean Dodd

Cardiff’s classy Joe Cordina (8-0, 6KO) collected the Commonwealth title, his first major domestic belt, with a unanimous decision against Birkenhead’s brave Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd (15-4-1, 3KO).

All three judges favoured the 26-year-old by margins of 119-109 (Howard Foster), 117-112 (Michael Alexander) and 120-109 (John Keane) to please more than 2,000 fans .

The #JDNXTGEN show, televised live on Sky Sports, was Cordina’s first opportunity to headline in Cardiff, this time at the Ice Arena Wales. The self-styled ‘Welsh Wizard’ would’ve been aware that he needed an impressive performance to persuade Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn to return to his home city.

Joe Cordina

Dodd didn’t risk anything in the early rounds, tucking up behind a high guard and taking a good look at Cordina’s approach. The visitor briefly attempted to maul Cordina as they got close but for much of the opening exchanges, it was Cordina who was in command, throwing the heavier straight shots to negotiate ‘Masher’ backwards.

Cordina spent part of the third round playing possum, resting on the ropes to entice Dodd forward – bait which was only partially taken. Dodd tried to rough the action up and it was Cordina’s turn to take a good look at his opponent’s options, which may have also helped him catch a breather in his first scheduled 12 rounder.

They traded power punches in the fourth and Cordina’s youthful speed kept him a step ahead. However, the Welshmen often held his feet in an attempt to discourage Dodd, who took the opportunity to smother Cordina’s limbs and slow the action.

Joe Cordina

In the fifth round, Cordina’s renowned feet were able to increase the distance between them. It gave him the space to step in to his shots and he occasionally made his mark, finding gaps in Dodd’s old-school defence. A smile crept across Cordina’s face in the moments before the bell sounded and he was the happier as the fight approached the mid-point.

Cordina introduced a jab to Dodd’s stomach in the sixth round and it drew his hands lower. Dodd’s defence began to open up and Cordina’s greater creativity was evident, especially when he landed a highlight reel slip-uppercut-left hook-pivot combination seconds before the bell sounded.

Until the seventh round, most of Cordina’s more hurtful punches came from his right hand but now it was his left hand’s turn to dent Dodd. Double left hooks to body and head landed as Cordina continued to land the more meaningful punches to keep Dodd at bay.

Dodd dug in during the eighth round, quite literally attempting to barge in to Cordina, following it up with a series of short hooks. Though it was effective in changing the pace to Dodd’s comfort zone, there was very little clean work to spot and it mainly served to neutralise both boxers.

Joe Cordina

The championship rounds were unknown territory for Cordina, whilst Dodd had been to the 10th session or beyond on five previous. That experience didn’t translate in the ring, though. A relaxed Cordina took position in centre ring and scored with hooks from both hands to excite the Ice Arena, whilst comedically drawing applause from Dodd on two occasions.

Cordina’s upper body movement was as fresh towards the finale as it had been in the opener and he kept Dodd off balance throughout the 11th and 12th rounds. To Dodd’s credit, his admirable resilience and persistence was never in question.

The hugely popular Dodd brought a vocal crowd from Merseyside and his infectious personality has made him one of British boxing’s most loved characters, especially as he’s been open about using the sport to turn his life around.

Cordina remained coy when questioned on his next step and will now take time to relax with his family. A return to Cardiff is likely but an appearance on Eddie Hearn’s American venture, televised by new app DAZN, is also an option. Read Cordina’s thoughts on tomorrow.

IMAGE BY HUW FAIRCLOUGH. For more images or to contact Huw for booking, visit his official websiteFacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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