Joe Cordina buzzing for first professional appearance on home soil amidst ‘unreal’ atmosphere

Joe Cordina buzzing for first professional appearance on home soil amidst ‘unreal’ atmosphere

It’s been a long time coming but Joe ‘The Welsh Wizard’ Cordina (4-0, 4KO) will finally fight in front of his home fans as a professional on Saturday.

The 25-year-old is a favourite of promoter Eddie Hearn and is blessed as the sole Welshman to make the cut for Matchroom Sport’s mega-show at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Cordina was beaming with the loud reception he received from the crowd at today’s open workout in St David’s Hall, which included plenty of his own fans amidst an almost capacity 1,900 turnout for Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19KO).

The heavyweight will headline the show, defending his International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association unified belts against Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27KO)and Cordina insists the appearance at home has been on his mind whilst travelling the globe.

Joe Cordina

“I’ve been around the world but I’m here now and I’ve got myself on one of the biggest shows Wales has ever seen,” said the 2016 Rio Olympian. “It’s amazing. I haven’t boxed here for years. Yeah, that was against Nico Morrison [2014 Welsh Senior Championships final, the first time in years.

“As a pro, it’s the first time I’ve fought here and I can’t wait. The atmosphere here is unreal. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like on fight night?”

Joe Cordina

An all round sportsman who only joined his local boxing club in a bid to keep fit between rugby seasons, Cordina has performed on the grass at the then Millennium Stadium on three previous occasions.

Despite never walking away with a win in those team sports, he has fond memories of the path that led him to being one of Britain’s best pugilistic prospects.

Cordina said: “I wasn’t boxing at the time. I was playing football and rugby. I played football there when I was nine [years-old], it was a tournament and the rugby was when I was 11 [years-old] and again when I was about 15-years-old.

“That was when I started boxing and I had to pick one or the other. In boxing, you can’t go half hearted. I was enjoying the boxing more and lucky it paid off.”

Joe Cordina

Cordina, who is trained by Tony Sims in Essex, aimed to sweep the super-featherweight division by storm when he called time on his stellar amateur career, that included Commonwealth Games and European Championships medals.

However, he’ll now operate five pounds heavier at the lightweight limit of 135lbs and the decision came during the realisation that his body is continuing to grow. Cordina is already visualising fights against the top of the busy domestic scene, though admits only when he’s ready.

Speaking of the transition, Cordina said: “It’s hard, I’m not going to lie to you. Anyone who thinks it’s easy to go from the amateur to the pros and in deep is wrong. It’s long, it’s draining and it puts strain on your body but I’ve enjoyed it. After a while, you start chasing the pain and the rounds.

“There are a lot of good fights in Britain at lightweight. I’m more comfortable at that weight. Making super-feather, it was difficult at the start and now I’ve started doing more strength and conditioning, I’m building my size and my explosive power. It would have been hard to build muscle and stay at super-featherweight because muscle weighs more than fat.

“I don’t want to be rushed and get chucked in. At the end of the day, this is my life as well as a sport and entertainment for the people. I’ve got to take the right fights at the right time. You’ve got to get to the top as quick as possible and get the right wins and do what my coach says.”

Matchroom Sport are still hopeful Cordina will fight for some form of title on Saturday’s show and an announcement is due to be made by tomorrow morning.

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