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Joe Cordina KOs Kenichi Ogawa in Wales, Wins IBF Title

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  • Joe Cordina KOs Kenichi Ogawa in Wales, Wins IBF Title

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    By David A. Avila

    With a single punch Joe “the Welsh Wizard” Cordina grabbed the IBF world super featherweight title from Japan’s dangerous Kenichi Ogawa by sizzling knockout on Saturday in Wales.

    So that’s why they call him the Wizard.

    “I’m a bit speechless,” Cordina said after the win.

    Cordina (15-0, 9 KOs) walked into his hometown arena, in his home country with all the fans rooting for him and knocked out Japan’s Ogawa (26-2-1, 18 KOs) a feared puncher in his own right at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff,

    No need to worry about hometown judging in this fight.

    Just to make sure two American judges and one European judge were hired to score the fight. It wasn’t necessary at all.

    Ogawa, 34, had previously obliterated South Africa’s Azinga Fuzile with a convincing 12-round decision that included several knockdowns. It was not a surprise considering Ogawa had knocked out 18 previous foes.

    In the first round Ogawa took control and was able to score with body shots and a riveting one-two combination that he doubled up to score. Cordina tried feints and saw that the Japanese fighter did not back up.

    In the second round Cordina seemed more aggressive and the two were trading blows. A slight feint by Cordina froze Ogawa and then a crushing overhand right by the Welsh fighter dropped the Japanese world champion. He could not get up and was counted out at 1:52 of the second round.

    The crowd erupted in cheers.

    “When he caught me I was oh yeah. We knew he was going to line me up. I just knew to juke him to land the right hand,” said Cordina. “We call it the Roberto Duran. We’ve been working on it (that punch) the whole camp. You put it in a fight you don’t even think about it.”

    Cordina becomes the thirteenth Welsh fighter to win a world title. If you’re going to take away a world title Cordina showed how it’s done.

    “Feels amazing, the support here tonight was just unbelievable,” said Cordina. “After a half year of work into five and a half minutes. It’s just unbelievable.’

    It was Ogawa’s first title defense and he was willing to travel to Wales despite the overwhelming crowd against him. But Cordina showed that he needs no advantages in a fight with his lethal right hand.

    Other Bouts

    England’s Zelfa Barrett (28-1, 16 KOs) took a round and a half to get the engine started and then used the turbos to out-punch Belgium’s Faroukh Kourbanov (19-4) and win the EBU super featherweight title by unanimous decision after 12 rounds.

    No knockdowns were scored but Barrett was the more accurate with his uppercuts and counters in taking the title away from Kourbanov.

    The judges scored the fight 120-110, 119-109, 118-110 for Barrett.

    England’s Dalton Smith (11-0, 9 KOs) knocked down Argentina’s Mauro Perouene (14-6-1) with a left hook and left foot trip in the sixth round. But that was after round after round of punishing shots. The fight was stopped at the end of the sixth round giving Smith the win by technical knockout in their super lightweight fight.

    Australia’s Skye Nicolson (4-0) showed her quickness and stamina in winning every round against former world champion Gabriela Bouvier (15-11-1) to win by decision after eight rounds in a featherweight fight.

    Nicolson was in her fourth fight in three months and the Aussie Olympian showed continued improvement and also proved that she is ready for 10 rounds.

    “I’d like more rounds,” said Nicolson.

    Britain’s Gamal Yafai (19-2, 11 KOs) had little trouble in tracking down Britain’s Comanche Cairns (8-4) and winning by knockout in the super bantamweight fight. The southpaw fighter posed no real challenge for Yafai who floored Cairns in the third round and then finished him in the fourth round with a left hook at 1:55 of the round.
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