Home Columns Kenichi Ogawa vs Joe Cordina – Big Fight Preview & Predictions

Kenichi Ogawa vs Joe Cordina – Big Fight Preview & Predictions

Cordina challenges Ogawa for world title in Wales

Kenichi Ogawa defends his IBF super featherweight world title against Joe Cordina in Cardiff on Saturday Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
Kenichi Ogawa defends his IBF super featherweight world title against Joe Cordina in Cardiff on Saturday Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing

It’s the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in the UK this weekend, and another hoping for a coronation is Joe Cordina. The Welshman tackles IBF super featherweight champion, Kenichi Ogawa, at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff this Saturday night on top of a Matchroom promoted bill.

DAZN televise Ogawa vs Cordina live worldwide, excluding Australia and New Zealand.

Cordina (14-0, 8 KOs) is a massive talent, but this is a big jump up in class for the man from just down the road from the arena.

The 30-year-old debuted in 2017 after appearing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and quickly went through the levels.

He won British, Commonwealth and WBA International titles at lightweight before a switch down to super featherweight in 2019, where he outscored Enrique Tinoco in Monaco to win the vacant WBA Continental strap.

Ogawa makes a first defence of his IBF crown Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom
Ogawa makes a first defence of his IBF crown Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

The ‘Welsh Wizard’ has made one defence of the belt, and that came in his most recent contest, a wide win over ten against the unbeaten Miko Khatchatryan in December 2021.

He now meets the experienced Tokyo native Ogawa (26-1-1, 18 KOs), a man who defends his belt for the first time.

The 34-year-old did originally win the vacant IBF belt back in 2017, with a split decision win over Tevin Farmer, but that result was overturned and changed to a no contest due to a failed post-fight drug test.

Cordina overcame Khatchatryan in his last outing in December Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Cordina overcame Khatchatryan in his last outing in December Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

‘Crush Right’ then resurfaced in his homeland picking up three wins and a technical draw, before challenging for the same vacant title in his last fight in November 2021, dropping Azinga Fuzile twice on the way to a points win in New York.

Prediction: This looks very much a case of getting a shot at the right time for Cordina, and Ogawa should represent an opponent that he can flourish against. I expect the visitor to test Cordina’s chin early on, but once he comes through the first four frames, Cordina can pull away for a clear victory on the cards.

Barrett battles Kourbanov

Zelfa Barrett hopes to be on the hunt for world honours himself, but ‘Brown Flash’ must make do with a shot at the European super featherweight title here, with the champion, Belgium’s Faroukh Kourbanov standing in the Manchester man’s way. 

Barrett (27-1, 16 KOs) is on a good run of form, and is in line to face the winner of the main event here after outscoring Bruno Tamimo in his last fight, an IBF title eliminator.

Zelfa Barrett is in line for a shot at the winner of Ogawa-Cordina Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
Zelfa Barrett is in line for a shot at the winner of Ogawa-Cordina Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

Kourbanov (19-3, 3 KOs) has a low knockout ratio and three defeats on the slate, but he did push Joe Cordina close in March last year, going down by majority decision over ten, and won the vacant title last December, with a majority verdict over Nicola Henchiri.

Prediction: I fancy Barrett to become the new champion with a clear points win.

Smith faces Perouene

Dalton Smith looks like a star in the making, and Sheffield super lightweight makes a first defence of the WBC International Silver title against Argentina’s Mauro Alex Hasan Perouene.

Prediction: Smith (10-0, 8 KOs) already has a raft of impressive early wins on his slate, but he may need the later rounds to see off Perouene (14-5-1, 7 KOs), who has only been stopped once, when the towel came in, in a last round defeat in Spain in September last year.

Nicolson returns

Skye Nicholson (3-0) has had a busy year to date, and she enters eight round territory for the first time.

Prediction: The Aussie should defeat Uruguay’s Gabriela Bouvier (15-10-1, 3 KOs) over the distance at featherweight.

Remaining Undercard

At welterweight, Joe Morgan (3-0, 1 KO) can stay unbeaten with a points win over Rustem Fatkhullin (8-32, 3 KOs), and Ben Crocker (3-0, 1 KO) can do the same against Evgenii Vazem (9-29, 4 KOs).

Kyran Jones (3-0, 1 KO) can also bank a points win over Vasif Mamedov (2-17-3) at middleweight.

Former European super bantamweight champion, Gamal Yafai (18-2, 10 KOs), super lightweight prospect, Calum French (2-0, 1 KO) return and super middleweight, Monique Bux makes her professional debut.

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