by Chris Evans
An intriguing all Welsh fight for the British and Commonwealth lightweight titles adorns the undercard of Lomachenko v Campbell this weekend. Cardiff’s Joe Cordina 9-0 defends his titles against another unbeaten fighter Welsh lightweight champion, Merthyr Tydfil’s Gavin Gwynne 11-0.
At one stage, both Welshmen boxed out of the same gym; Tony Borg’s St Joseph’s Gym in Newport, their lives in both the professional and amateur ranks couldn’t be more different.
Cordina won gold at the 2015 European boxing championships and bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth games turning professional with Matchroom boxing leaving Wales and trainer Tony Borg to train in London at the matchroom gym under trainer Tony Sims supported by Matchroom Cordina was able to focus fully on his boxing without the financial pressure.
For challenger Gavin Gwynne life couldn’t be more different. With less than 50 fights at amateur, Gwynne turned professional in 2016. Gwynne, without the backing of Matchroom, relied on local sponsors on top of working full time working in heavy labour construction, on top of being a devoted father to his son. Previously Gwynne joined former World champion Lee Selby visiting LA and training with Freddie Roach.
Unusually for a Matchroom fighter, this will be the first Gwynne has prepared for as a full-time professional without having to juggle full time work, family life and training.
“This is the best camp I’ve ever had, when the fight was announced I spoke to my girlfriend and she told me that if I’m ever going to go full-time this is the fight to do it", he said
"It’s the best I’ve ever felt for all my fights so far, camp couldn’t have gone any better. I went out [to LA] for sparring and got some really good sparring out there. I was sparring everyday. I’d get up in the morning spar, have a rest then straight back in to the gym” .
During the build-up on Gwynne, Cordina said he would have rather moved up a level and fought Europe’s Champion Patera, stating Gwynne was “6ft , he’s fit, and that’s about it” . Despite the criticism, Gwynne isn't concerned about opponents overlooking him,
“I hope he has overlooked me, he knows the fighter I am, and I don’t give a shit to be honest, its who brings those titles home Saturday night and that will be me”
"I haven’t watched any interviews in the build-up, and I don’t involve myself in these social media spats. I’m focused on what I've got to do and nothing else."
Gwynne's closed friend fellow Welshman and former IBF World featherweight Champion Lee Selby has not been shy in offering advice,
“Selby has been a massive help, his words of encouragement, the advice, discussing sparring. He’s been immense I couldn't fault him for being there for me in this camp.”
"This even is huge, it's a mad feeling, but, but I cant get too overexcited. I’m just thinking about my fight on Saturday night, not the main event. Once I get those belts on Saturday I’ll be straight home, I’ll want to see my boy - so I’ll ask the girlfriend to drive me home!”
This is a certainly a fight to look forward to for all fight fans not just Welsh fight fans. Both fighters completely different in personality and boxing styles, only time will tell what happens when the two collide