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Joe Cordina Reclaims IBF Junior Lightweight Title in Split Decision Victory

Joe Cordina has reclaimed his IBF junior lightweight title after winning a hard-fought split decision victory against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov. In their DAZN-aired main event held at Cardiff International Arena in Wales, Cordina secured the win with a fifth-round knockdown that proved to be the difference in the card of Phil Edwards. The final scorecards were 114-113 in favor of Cordina and 115-112, also in favor of Cordina, by judges Phil Edwards and Pawel Kardyni, respectively.

Cordina entered the fight as a favorite and made the most of his homecoming, displaying crisp jabs and right uppercuts as well as slick footwork. Rakhimov, on the other hand, remained in Cordina's face throughout the match, but his aggression came at a cost. In the second round, Cordina floored Rakhimov with a straight left, which put the defending titlist in an early hole.

Rakhimov rallied back in the fifth round, snapping back Cordina's head with an overhand right, but Cordina was able to survive and even hurt Rakhimov in the closing seconds of the round. Cordina repeatedly caught Rakhimov coming in with right hands and landed them at will, causing a cut over Rakhimov's left eye and causing it to swell shut.

Rakhimov refused to give up, even as Cordina seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and rallied late in the ninth and eleventh rounds. But despite his efforts, Cordina's superior skill set prevailed, and he secured the split decision win to become a two-time IBF junior lightweight titlist.

Cordina had previously held the title but was forced to vacate it after suffering a broken hand in his first day of training camp last fall, which prevented him from defending the belt against Rakhimov in November. Despite never losing his title in the ring, Cordina was forced to play the role of challenger in his second homecoming.

The victory over Rakhimov marks another milestone in Cordina's career, as he previously won the belt in a sensational second-round knockout of Japan's Kenichi Ogawa in the same venue last June.


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