Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

Cardiff super-featherweight Joe Cordina (16-0, 9KOs) returns for the first defence of his IBF strap at 130lbs as he defends against Texas’ Edward Vazquez (15-1, 3KOs) at the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco.

The fight will be Cordina’s first since reclaiming the belt against Shavkat Rakhimov in Cardiff six months ago after he was previously stripped for failing to defend due to a hand injury.

Cordina emerged a split-decision winner in the Welsh capital that night after flooring Tajikistan’s Rakhimov in the second round, ten months after initially becoming champion with a stunning second-round knockout of Kenichi Ogowa at the same venue.

The 31-year-old heads into Saturday night knowing victory paves the way for potential big money showdowns at 130lbs.

WBC champion O’Shaquie Foster weathered a storm to eventually overcome Eduardo Hernandez in Cancun last weekend, while former WBA featherweight titleholder Leigh Wood has also been linked with an all-British showdown against the Rio 2016 Olympian.

Cordina became a two-time IBF super-featherweight champion against Rakhimov earlier this year. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

“I saw an interview where he [Vazquez] said that he thinks I’m taking him lightly. Trust me, I’ve never taken a journeyman lightly, never mind in a world title fight,” Cordina said at the fight week press conference.

“This is a fight that’s potentially gonna set up my future, my kids’ future. He’s a very good fighter and I know he’s gonna put it all on the line. I’m willing to do the same too.”

Texas’ Vazquez enters the night with just one pro defeat to his name – a ten-round split-decision loss to Raymond Ford last year – but nevertheless heads into Saturday a heavy underdog.

“This is my time. I’m here for a reason, I’m very blessed to be here. I’m ready, I’m prepared,” he said.

“If you look at my career, I’ve been the challenger almost every time and I’ve come out on top every time, except for that one bullshit call [against Ford]. I’m here to pull the upset and ready to handover another Texas ass-whooping.”

The fight will also be Vazquez’ first time fighting over twelve-rounds, comparing to Cordina who already has three victories over the same distance to his name.

Ali seeks revenge against Guzman

Saturday’s undercard features just three contests, one of which sees Somalia super-bantamweight Ramla Ali (8-1, 2KOs) look to overturn her sole pro loss against Mexico’s Julissa Alejandra Guzman (13-2-2, 7KOs).

The latter stunned Ali in New Orleans four months ago, scoring a knockdown in round five before ending the fight with an emphatic right-hand finish in the eighth.

Neither have fought since as Ali faces a huge test in just her ninth pro outing since turning over in October 2020.

South Africa’s Siventathi Nontshinga (12-0, 9KOs) also looks to defend his IBF light-flyweight crown versus Mexico’s Adrian Curiel (23-4-1, 4KOs) over twelve, while France’s Souleymane Cissokho (16-0, 9KOs) faces another Mexican in Isaias Lucero (16-1, 10KOs) over twelve at super-welterweight.

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