Joe Cordina hopes victory over Edward Vazquez can bring him closer to what would be defining fights against Emanuel Navarette and Shakur Stevenson.
The IBF super featherweight champion on Saturday makes the first defence of his title against America’s Vazquez at Casino de Monte Carlo, and does so aware of the ease of a future fight between he and fellow Matchroom fighter Leigh Wood.
It is regardless Navarette of Mexico and the widely admired American Stevenson, at lightweight, he is targeting, aware that they are likely not only his greatest tests, but his richest potential fights.
“I’m looking to have this fight [against Vazquez], get another fight in the new year, and then move up to lightweight,” said Cordina, at 31 three years older than Vazquez. “That’s my plan.
“I’ve got to keep winning, that’s the main thing. Once I do that I can get a fight with Shakur [Stevenson]. I’m not being disrespectful, I just want to test myself against the best, and in my eyes, and a lot of other people’s eyes, he’s one of the best fighters on the planet, and he’ll go down as an all-time great.
“There’s only one big money fight in my weight, really, and that’s [Mexico’s Emanuel] Navarette. We tried to make the O’Shaquie [Foster] fight and I was pushing for it, but they was just saying it don’t make sense, money-wise. ‘The revenue ain’t there – it’s not a big fight for you.’ Even though it’s for a title. But, from a business sense, it don’t. But the big-money fight for me is Navarette. I’d love to do that in either [Las] Vegas, or in May in Mexico on the undercard of Canelo [Saul Alvarez] or whatever. I’m sure we could work something out.”
Stevenson fights Edwin de los Santos later this month in Las Vegas, after struggling to secure Frank Martin as an opponent and also previously targeting Devin Haney.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve gone into the office [at Matchroom] and said, ‘I don’t mind [fighting him]’,” Cordina continued. “After he moved up to lightweight he did an interview. Basically he was saying, ‘I can’t make 130, but I’m sure we [me and Cordina] can do a catchweight of 133’. I’ll go 135 – it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve boxed at 135. It was only because all the big names at lightweight had gone by then, so I went to super feather, where the big fights were. Then they moved up. It added more clout for me as well – I got a title, and now it’s time to cash in.
“[Rivals are] scared [of Stevenson]. [Frank Martin is] unbelievable. He was in camp with AJ [Anthony Joshua], and AJ mentioned to Tony [Sims, my trainer] that he’s in the gym and he might be coming over [so I hoped to spar him].
“It was for [preparing for Shavkatdzhon] Rakhimov. It would have been great fun, and hard sparring at that. It would have been good for him to get over.”