Joe Cordina produced a stunning second round knockout to become IBF super-featherweight champion at the expense of Kenichi Ogawa.
The Japanese fighter walked in as the reigning title holder and his aggressive style and no-nonsense attitude looked like it could cause trouble for Cordina who was only in his 15th fight.
The Welshman walked into the sound of ‘Delilah’ by Tom Jones with the home support roaring Cordina on before a punch had even been thrown. The country’s national anthem, always inspiring, had everyone amped for the first bell but no-one and I mean no-one could have predicted what was about to happen.
Ogawa settled the better in round one and fired a left hook which got Cordina’s attention. And later in the frame an eye-catching one-two landed which was evidence enough that the 34-year-old wasn’t just here to enjoy the money that DAZN stumped up to get him to Wales.
The champion’s come forward tactics was likely going to produce dramatic moments at some point in the fight and it was a question of how ‘The Welsh Wizard’ would respond. And in round two the 30-year-old concocted a devilish potion that began with a feint of the jab before a right hand fuelled with fire and bad intentions landed on Ogawa and knocked him out at 1min 15secs.
The referee’s count was almost immaterial. What had happened was a shock to the system for everyone except for Wales 13th world champion Cordina. Ogawa’s eight-month reign was destroyed in less than six minutes by a new star of the super featherweight division.
Superlatives will run free on what Cordina did tonight at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena and rightly so. This was supposed to be a litmus test, a defining night where we find out where his future lies. The new IBF champion is a potent mix of skills, wizardry and knockout power that will have put every 130lbs contender on notice, including the number one in the division Shakur Stevenson.
“I’m a bit speechless,” said Cordina in the post-fight interview with DAZN’s Chris Lloyd.
Of the knockout punch itself it was revealed that the shot had a special name: “We call it the Roberto Duran. We’ve been working on it the whole camp. It’s an amazing feeling when you put hours of work into a certain punch, and it comes off and lights out.”
Cordina takes his unbeaten record to (15-0, 9 KOs) while Ogawa moves to (26-2-1, 18 KOs).