Zelfa Barrett, who’s likely next for the winner, fights Faroukh Kourbanov in the co-main
As revealed about a month back, newly crowned IBF junior lightweight champion Kenichi Ogawa will make his inaugural defense on June 4th when he faces Joe Cordina in Cardiff.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) May 3, 2022
Ogawa’s (26-1-1, 18 KO) first title reign was both brief and controversial, as he won the belt via questionable decision over Tevin Farmer and lost it due to a failed drug test without ever defending it. His current one is as legit as they come, however, as he battered Azinga Fuzile for the vacant title in November.
2016 Olympian Cordina (14-0, 8 KO) has enjoyed a solid run on the domestic scene and sits at number three in the rankings, but this is very much a sink-or-swim step up in class for the 30-year-old.
“I’ve dedicated my entire life to boxing and to putting myself in this position,” said Cordina. “Now it all comes down to this opportunity, my world title shot. It’s a lifelong dream of mine to become a world champion and a stepping stone to securing my family’s future and making all of the times missed with them worth it.
“I’ll be taking this opportunity with both hands; I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to win and be crowned the new IBF champion. Be ready to see the best Joe Cordina come fight night as I put my name at the top of the division.”
“First of all, I want to thank Mr. Eddie Hearn for this opportunity,” said Ogawa. “Hello to Team Cordina. I am disappointed that I could not attend the launch press conference but I’m looking forward to fighting in Cardiff. Let’s be in our best shape for this fight. But I will be the one to win this fight. See you in a month.”
The victor’s next opponent will likely be decided in the co-feature, which pits #2 Zelfa Barrett (27-1, 16 KO) against Faroukh Kourbanov (19-3, 3 KO). Barrett’s coming off a win over Bruno Tarimo, while Kourbanov has won two straight since a 2-3 skid saw him drop decisions to Devis Boschiero, Samir Ziani, and Cordina.