Hearn: “Stevenson v Joe Cordina Is The Ultimate Fight In The Division!”

Eddie Hearn Gives Joe Cordina the Best Shot at Challenging Shakur Stevenson

Eddie Hearn targets fight with Shakur Stevenson for Joe Cordina
(left to right) Shakur Stevenson, Eddie Hearn, Joe Cordina | Credit: PA (L), Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Eddie Hearn Mapping Out a Path to Shakur Stevenson v Joe Cordina Unification


On June 4 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales, Joe Cordina (15-0, 9 KOs) scored a sensational second-round knockout over Kenichi Ogawa to become the new IBF junior lightweight champion. Going in, Cordina was viewed as the underdog by a lot of boxing pundits. The prevailing theory was that if he were to win, it would be by using his technical prowess to outbox Ogawa. But to the shock of many, he took out the Japanese world champion with one punch; a right-hand bomb that is an early candidate for Knockout of the year.

With the win, the new champ is now a major player at 130. During post-fight interviews immediately after the fight, his team said that their dream fight would be a showdown with the current unified junior lightweight champ, Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs).

But sanctioning body obligations are hovering for Cordina. To get the fight with Ogawa, IBF mandatory challenger Shavkat Rakhimov (16-0-1, 13 KOs) agreed to take a step-aside fee. One would think he now wants his title shot. During an interview with UK’s iFL TV, Cordina’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, revealed what he’d like to see for his fighter.

THE BLUEPRINT FOR CORDINA?

“There’s three things on the mind. One is the Rakhimov situation with the IBF, which obviously, we have to deal with. We had a deal with them in place. Zelfa Barrett (28-1, 16 KOs), a big British fight as well, and of course the goal of Shakur Stevenson.

I rate Shakur Stevenson as one of the best fighters in the world. Talk about the pound for pound list, he’s right up there. But after a knockout like that, do you give anyone else in the division more chance of beating Shakur Stevenson than Joe Cordina? For me, no. That is the ultimate fight in the division.”

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Rakhimov’s last outing was a second-round stoppage win over Sardor Muzaffarov in December 2021. Barrett is ranked second by the IBF and twelfth by the WBO at 130. In his last bout, he scored a twelve-round unanimous decision win over Faroukh Kourbanov on the undercard of Cordina’s victory over Ogawa.

Hearn would like to see Cordina get a couple of title defenses in the queue. The promoter would like to see him fight Rakhimov in either September or October of this year, followed by Barrett in either late 2022 or early 2023. Then, go for a fight with Stevenson in the first half of 2023.

The unified junior lightweight champ said he’d fight Cordina and is willing to go to the UK to make it happen. However, time is needed to make it a reality. Promoters can smell big-money matchups earlier than most. Their job is to do their due diligence behind the scenes to build the biggest money-producing fights possible.

So, what Hearn is proposing makes the most sense. A fight with Rakhimov should be first on the agenda. Cordina must confront and take care of his mandatory obligations. It would behoove the newly crowned champ to get some more seasoning and put some coin in the bank before embarking on that kind of challenge.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for 3kingsboxing.com.