Welsh lightweight prospect Joe Cordina (8-0, 6KOs) produced a classy and dominant performance against a seasoned pro in Sean Dodd (15-4-1, 3KOs) on Saturday night at the Ice Arena Wales.
It was the first time Cordina had been stretched to 12-rounds in his short career but he looked assured and unfazed as he cruised to a unanimous decision. The 26-year-old showed experience beyond his years by throwing a variety punches while dictating the pace of the fight.
Dodd is no mug and would give any on the domestic fighters on the current British scene a run for their money. The 34-year-old did try to put the pressure on Cordina in the middle rounds as expected but he found it difficult to pin the ‘Welsh Wizard’ down.
On the British domestic front we have a lot of depth in the 135lb division but the chances of Cordina gaining any more experience then what he faced on Saturday night will be difficult to find.
As Cordina has only had eight pro fights it would be poor management to think about throwing him in with someone like Lewis Ritson (16-0, 10KOs) who is among the current top British lightweights. Fighters like Ricky Burns (42-7-1, 15KOs), Anthony Crolla (33-6-3, 13KOs) and Luke Campbell (18-2, 15KOs) are fights that can wait at least until the new Commonwealth champion gets at least 10-fights under his belt.
Scott Cardle (23-2-1, 7KOs) was on the undercard of Cordina-Dodd and got back to winning ways after his devastating knockout loss to Ritson earlier this year. The 28-year-old would offer a different style to Dodd and would surely be the most favourable opponent for Cordina’s next fight.
If team Cordina really want to stretch their man to the limit then Tommy Coyle (24-4, 12KOs) would be the perfect opponent. It would be a bit of a gamble but “he who dares”. A victory against a guy like Coyle would catapult the Welshman right into the mix not only domestically but on world level to.
Since keeping a close eye on Joe Cordina when he collected a bronze medal at the commonwealth games in Glasgow 2014 he has made a significant improvement. His last 16 defeat in the Rio Olympics 2016 was a bitter pill to swallow but he would have gained a lot of experience from competing in such a major event.
After representing Team GB in Rio Cordina joined an exciting crop of fighters that also decided to move into the pro game; welterweight Josh Kelly (7-0, 5KOs), super-welterweight Anthony Fowler (7-0, 6KOs), light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (7-0, 5KOs), cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (9-0, 7KOs) and heavyweight Joe Joyce (5-0, 5KOs) plus female super-flyweight Nicola Adams (4-0, 3KOs).
British professional boxing has a lot to thank Team GB for with the amount of hard work and investment that has gone into the amateur game. It’s been quite a remarkable turn around since 2000 when all we had was Audley Harrision (31-7, 23KOs) in the Sydney games and Amir Khan (32-4, 20KOs) in Athens. If you take a look through the list of fighters that have managed to be a success when transitioning from amateur to professional it shows just how important Team GB have been.
In London 2012 we had; Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20KO), Josh Taylor (13-0, 11KOs), Andrew Selby (10-0, 5KOs), Luke Campbell and in Beijing 2008; Khalid ‘Kal’ Yafai (24-0, 15KOs), Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12KOs) and James DeGale (24-2-1, 14KOs).
Of course with every Joshua there is a Harrison so having an Olympic background does not guarantee you success in the professional ranks just ask Anthony Ogogo. Cordina will need to keep his feet firmly on the ground and continue to develop if he is to fulfil his potential. What ever the future holds for the young Cardiff chap and the other protégés that are coming through – Olympic background or not – it will be fun watching.