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What's next for Joe Cordina? - 5 potential opponents for the Welshman following win over Rakhimov

Sensational Welshman Joe Cordina is now a two-time world champion, as he defeated Shavkat Rakhimov by split decision to regain the IBF super featherweight title he never originally lost in the ring, in front of a partisan crowd at the Cardiff International Arena.

Both men set their stall out early to show us what would be the theme of the fight over the next thirty six minutes, as they met in the centre of the ring to trade big shots in the pocket.

The biggest moment of the fight came in the second round, when Cordina dropped the champion Rakhimov with a sharp shot. Rakhimov beat the count, and weathered the Welsh storm, before coming on strong himself to significantly hurt Cordina in the fifth round.

Cordina himself then finished strong down the stretch, closing the right eye of Rakhimov with sharp, stinging shots.

Both men maintained a ferocious pace until the end, producing a certain fight of the year contender, before the judges scorecards were announced as 111-116, 115-112 and 114-113 in Cordinas favour.

Now, we will take a look at five potential opponents that could be next on the path of the new IBF super featherweight kingpin Cordina.

Shavkat Rakhimov

First of all, following a classic encounter like we witnessed in Cardiff on Saturday evening, boxing fans would certainly be eager to see both men engage in battle one more time.

Rakhimov's persistent, bullish style certainly endeared him to any British fans who may not have previously known what he was all about, and the man from Tajikistan would relish the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments required to secure a victory over Cordina he was tantalisingly close to grabbing this weekend.

Anthony Cacace

The man next in the IBF pecking order at 130lbs is Anthony Cacace.

The Belfast man is a former British champion, and now holds a version of a world title, following a decision victory over Michael Magnesi last September to pick up the IBO strap.

Now riding the crest of five consecutive victories following his sole career defeat six years ago, Cacace will hope to get his shot at Celtic rival Cordina in a unification bout heading into the later months of 2023.

O’Shaquie Foster

Another unification fight that could be in the future of Cordina is a clash with O’Shaquie Foster.

Foster rebounded well from a pair of early career defeats to realise his dream back in February, when he decisioned Rey Vargas in Texas for the vacant green and gold WBC super featherweight world title.

A potential fight with Foster could also signal a first venture to the United States for Cordina, if that is a clash that is secured for later in the year.

Hector Luis Garcia

Dominican fighter Hector Luis Garcia is coming off a defeat in his last outing in the lightweight division, however he is still a champion at super-featherweight.

Garcia proved he belonged at the elite level back in February of 2022 when, as an underdog, he took the undefeated record of the promising American Chris Colbert.

He then won the WBA super featherweight title in his next outing against Roger Gutierrez, before stepping up to 135lbs where he was defeated in a valiant effort against big punching, pound-for-pound star Gervonta Davis in January.

Now, what better way to welcome him back down south to super featherweight, than with a huge WBA vs IBF unification bout against Joe Cordina.

Oscar Valdez

Another fighter that could be granted a world title opportunity coming off a defeat is former two-division titlist Oscar Valdez.

The former featherweight and super featherweight king was defeated by decision against the sensational Shakur Stevenson last April and lost his WBC world title, however he is still ranked as the number one super featherweight in the world in the Ring Magazine rankings.

With his guaranteed all action, high octane style, fans would not begrudge Valdez another shot at the big time, in a fascinating stylistic matchup against Joe Cordina.

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