Matchroom promote in Monte Carlo this Saturday evening, and there are two world title fights on the menu, with Cordina vs Vazquez top of the bill.
In the main event, Joe Cordina, in his second spell as IBF super featherweight champion, makes his first defence against Texas native Edward Vazquez, with the card to be streamed live on DAZN.
Cordina (16-0, 9KOs) has had two reigns as world champion in the space of under a year. The Welshman manoeuvered himself into a world title shot position in June last year, and he starched Kenichi Ogawa at the Cardiff International Arena in two rounds to ruthlessly win the IBF belt.
Sadly, as is an IBF rule, winning as a voluntary meant that Cordina had to fulfil his mandatory obligations within 90 days, and with the IBF granting an extension for a hand injury to the Cardiff resident that required surgery, Cordina was unable to fulfil a November 2022 date, and was stripped of the belt.
He watched Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov win the vacant title, but would get the first shot, and would drop Rakhimov in the second round before taking a tight split decision back at the Cardiff International Arena back in April.
‘The Welsh Wizard’ now has the challenge of Vazquez (15-1, 3KOs) to contend with. The 28-year-old has only tasted defeat once, a controversial split loss over ten against Raymond Ford in February last year, and has won four straight since. He was last out in July, winning the vacant IBF intercontinental bauble with a close points win against Brayan De Gracia.
Prediction: Vazquez has never been past ten rounds, and has fought limited opposition since the Ford defeat. I expect Cordina to excel, and can take a wide points win over the championship distance.
Light Flyweight world title action and a shot at redemption for Ali – undercard preview:
The second world title contest on the bill showcases the second lowest weight class in existence, as South Africa’s Sivenathi Nontshinga (12-0, 9KOs) puts his IBF light flyweight title on the line in a second defence against Mexico’s Adrian Curiel (23-4-1, 4KOs).
Nontshinga won the vacant belt in September 2022, travelling to Mexico to drop Hector Calixto in round two before taking a split decision, and he defended back at home in July, winning a clear decision against Regie Suganob. Curiel hasn’t been stopped in four career defeats, and is unbeaten in eight contests since a 2021 majority loss to Cristian Gonzalez, but hasn’t fought outside of his homeland.
Prediction: The smart pick is for the champion to retain on the cards.
Souleymane Cissokho (16-0, 9KOs) is a man looking to step up in class in 2024, and defends his WBC Silver welterweight title against Mexican Isaias Lucero (16-1, 10KOs).
Prediction: Cissokho should be able to round off the year with a stoppage victory.
There is also a rematch on the card, where Ramla Ali (8-1, 2KOs) can regain the IBF Intercontinental super bantamweight title that she lost to Julissa Alejandra Guzman (12-2-2, 7KOs). Guzman won their original meeting in June via eighth round knockout, so the Britain based Somali knows she will have to be at her very best if she is to get her hand raised.
Prediction: If Ali can stick to her boxing, she can take a close decision win.