Sims banking on 'prime' Cordina to return to lightweight

Tony Sims expects IBF super featherweight champion Joe Cordina to return to lightweight to pursue the biggest-money fights.

It is at lightweight where Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson, three of the world’s leading fighters of the present – and likely coming – era are competing and where Haney, the undisputed champion, fights the great Vasyl Lomachenko on May 20.

By defeating Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, the 31-year-old Cordina demonstrated that he, similarly, is a fighter at his peak, and therefore that the biggest fights at 130lbs, including against Emanuel Navarette, should soon be made.

“He won the British and Commonwealth titles at lightweight, then he dropped down to super featherweight,” said Sims, Cordina’s trainer. “He’s already boxed up at that weight. 

“If he unifies [at super featherweight]; if the Shakur Stevenson fight’s on the table he’d definitely go for that. Joe can compete with any elite fighter in the world. He’s got everything; he’s just getting better.

“One hundred percent [he’s in his prime]. He wants to unify – that’s always in his mind – and that’ll hopefully be his next step. His manager, Charlie Sims, and promoter Eddie Hearn will try and sit down and get that together, but that’s what he wants to do next.

“We always knew it was going to be a tough fight – Rakhimov puts everything on the line. He throws a lot of punches; is tough. He’s tough himself; has got a great chin; can punch where he had Rakhimov on the floor, and he’s a smart boxer defensively. He showed everything he’s got, and I had him winning by at least two or three rounds. Anytime you step up to fight a top-10 fighter you’re always in for a chance of having a gut-check fight. 

“His hand’s fine. A top surgeon, Mike Hayden, operated on him and put pins in the bone where he’d broke it. What the doctor was saying was he’ll never damage that ever again. It’s near enough impossible to damage it, because it’s held together.”

Sims went from Cordina’s corner in Cardiff to London to catch a flight to Los Angeles, where he was travelling with John Ryder – who on Saturday fights Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Guadalajara – and Conor Benn.

Benn continues to insist that he hopes to soon fight, and asked about how difficult has been the time since Benn-Chris Eubank Jnr was cancelled via Benn failing two drug tests, Sims responded: “It ain’t easy for me. It’s not easy for anybody linked to it. It’s not been easy for the gym, because my fighters have been scorned with that brush as well. It ain’t been easy, but as I’ve always said, we’ll get through it. It’s just a thing that you’ve gotta get through; a hurdle you’ve got to get over. You come through the other end and then you just carry on.

“It’s been difficult for everybody involved in it. Family. Conor’s family. My family. Everyone involved in it. To me, it’s a hurdle we’ve had to overcome and I feel like we will overcome it and it’s going to be overcome pretty soon. Once he’s back in the ring fighting again – a little bit like Canelo and Tyson Fury; they’ve been through that themselves – when you’re boxing, people start watching you fight again instead of just talking about what’s gone on.”

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