By Chuck Dally: In a surprise ending, unbeaten Joe Cordina (15-0, 9 KOs) dethroned IBF super featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (26-2-1, 18 KOs0 by s second-round knockout on Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
After an uneventful first round, Cordina nailed Ogawa with a picture-perfect right hand that knocked the 34-year-old champion out. The fight was immediately halted. The time of the stoppage was at 1:15 of the second round.
“Tonight, he announced himself to the world,” said Eddie Hearn. “Tonight belongs to Wales, tonight belongs to Joe Cordina.
“It was amazing. the support I had here tonight was unbelievable,” said Joe Cordina after the fight. “I’m just thankful. I want to thank God. About this, nothing would be possible.
“I want to thank everyone that came out tonight. Like you said, it was half of a lifetime of work gone into what would have been 36 minutes, but it’s gone into 5 1/2 minutes of work tonight.
“I’m just thankful, it’s amazing. You’ve got Tony, who put all the hard work and put me through all my peace through this camp. Also, Kevin. I don’t know where Kevin has gone. He’s been helping me in the gym also.
“I’m just speechless. I can’t even remember what the question was. Don’t get me wrong. You get caught with shots early on in fights. Whether they’re punches or not, he’s down as a puncher on paper, and I could feel it, but it’s not like what I haven’t felt before.
“Like I’ve said previously, I’ve sparred big punchers in this camp. I can read them off, there are loads of them, but I’ve been in with Conor Benn, who is probably the most explosive puncher in the world at the present moment. I’ve sparred with him.
“Comparison to punch power, he don’t even compare,” said Cordina in making it clear that Benn is a bigger puncher than former IBF super featherweight champion Ogawa, which makes sense given the size advantage Conor has over him.
“For me, when he [Ogawa] caught me [in round one], I thought, ‘Okay, he caught me.’ He got my attention, but it wasn’t anything I haven’t felt before. Yeah, me and Tony have been working hard in the gym and practicing certain things.
“When he was twitchy early on, that’s when we knew what he was going to come out to do. Line me up with a backhand, twitching, fainting, and trying to literally get me with the backhand. So, I just knew to keep stepping to my right, and that’s what I did.
“I call that the ‘Roberto Duran,’” said Cordina about the right hand that he knocked out Ogawa with in the second round. “We’ve been working on it all camp.
It’s an amazing feeling when you’ve put hours, and hours and hours of work into a certain combination or a punch, and then you put it into a fight. You don’t even think about it. It comes off and then lights out, it’s over,” said Cordina.
Super featherweight contender Zelfa Barrett (28-1, 16 KOs) defeated EBU 130-lb champion Faroukh Kourbanov (19-4, 3 KOs) by a one-sided 12-round unanimous decision in the chief support bout. The scores were 20-108, 119-109, 118-110 unanimous decision.
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In undercard action, unbeaten WBC International light-welterweight prospect Dalton Smith (11-0, 9 KOs) defeated journeyman Mauro Peroune (14-6-1, 7 KOs) by a sixth-round knockout.
Smith knocked Peroune down in the sixth, prompting his trainer to pull the plug on the contest.
The always tough super bantamweight Gamal Yafai (19-2, 11 KOs) stopped Sean Cairns (8-4, 2 KOs0 by a fourth-round knockout. In knocked the hapless Cairns down in the third, and a round later, the fight was halted.The time of the stoppage was at 1:55 mark.
Undefeated women’s featherweight prospect Skye Nicholson (4-0) went unbeaten with an eight-round points decision over Gabriela Bouvier (15-11-1, 3 KOs). The score was 80-72.