Joe Cordina held onto his IBF Super-featherweight World Title against Edward Vazquez, eking out a majority decision.
Cordina set to make his maiden defence in his second run as world champion – all coming in the space of three fights with no losses on his record.
The Welshman met Vazquez in Monte Carlo, a far cry from the Utilita Arena in Cardiff. For number nine rated Vasquez, it was his first twelve rounder.
After scoring a knockout of the year contender against Kenichi Ogawa back in 2022 and an impressively mature performance against feared champion Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov earlier this year, Cordina looked to continue his good form as he searches for a big money bout.
He took his time initially, easing into range with his jab. Vazquez had some success on the inside during the first round before going on the attack in the second. Cordina weathered it and began to find more of a rythym, scoring a good shot to the body. His best work came from behind the jab, but Vazquez took advantage of the spaces in between to swarm in and land some quick shots.
Vazquez continued to be impressive on the inside with short hooks and uppercuts into the fourth and fifth, but Cordina looked intent on standing and trading to make a statement even if he could control things easier from the outside.
At mid-range in the sixth the pair traded shots with Vazquez continuing to have more success than he was likely expected to. Less output in the seventh allowed the champion to establish some control with some good, smart work. He opted to put his back on the ropes to show off some head movement in the eighth and Vazquez again impressed.
Back and forth in the ninth with Cordina landing some good body shots – which looked like the key to victory – but Vazquez sticking around to keep it entertaining. Both men looked to stamp their authority in 10 and 11, with Cordina keeping his output up but Vazquez staying on the champion’s chest no matter what was thrown his way and landing shots doing so.
It was very close going into the twelfth. Vazquez started out throwing more. Cordina entered the final two minutes with the momentum after landing some big shots, but it switched back to the Texan, who was giving everything he could. More big shots from both throughout the last minute – a thrilling finish for an entertaining, close fight. The performance of a career (so far) from Vazquez, but would it be enough to take the title?
114-114, 116-112, 116-112 Cordina, and Vazquez smiled through his frustration before telling the broadcast he felt he did enough to win and everybody watching knew it.