Cordina vs Dodd: We go in camp with Joe Cordina ahead of his first major title shot

After two outings at The Principality, Joe Cordina headlines his home city for the first time so we talk to the Cardiff star about life away from the cameras…

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August 4, 2018, 7:30pm

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Cordina will fight for his first major title this Saturday when he faces Sean Dodd for the vacant Commonwealth belt at the Ice Arena Wales, live on Sky Sports.

Ahead of his eighth pro fight, we talk to ‘The Welsh Wizard’ about life in a thriving gym, working under Tony Sims, and the spars that set the tone during a full-throttle camp…

There’s a good group of lads in there so it’s a great environment, we all get a long brilliantly. It’s quite an inspirational place as well, we have pictures of the likes of Anthony Joshua and Muhammad Ali on the wall.

Are there a lot of familiar faces in the gym?

It is a busy gym, but it’s brilliant, there’s a great vibe. You’ve got Ricky Burns, Conor Benn, John Ryder, Martin J Ward, Felix Cash, Ted Cheeseman among others, so there’s a lot of us.

We do everything together, we run, train, spar together. Everything is in house, we don’t need to go out, and we have everything we need. It’s a great crack, we’re all very close.

Are you particularly close to anyone?

I live with Ricky Burns and he’s a great inspiration for me. He works harder than anyone and I just try to emulate him, he’s a proven three-weight world champ, he’s done it all.

He’s the most dedicated but I’m catching up. Tony said to me before ‘Joe you’ve gone from a lazy fighter to one of the ones who pushes themselves the most’. It’s because of Ricky.

Who’s your favourite sparring partner?

After one of our last spars, Ricky said: “As soon as you declared war after the second round, there was no going back” I enjoy and love it, it’s all a great learning curve for me.

So how does a standard day go?

I ‘m out of my bed at 6.30am every morning and then I’m down to the gym for 7am and start with a few runs.

That’ll normally finish about 5pm and then, after a little break, it’s back to the gym for 7.30/8pm to do more strength work or cardio. Life is pretty much train, eat, sleep on repeat, but I know it will benefit me in the long run.

Why was it Sims that you decided to turn pro with?

When I was with Team GB, Tony came up to Sheffield with a few of the boys, [Conor] Benn, [Ohara] Davies and [Kevin] Mitchell, so I got to know them all really well.

I liked Tony and his advice for his fighters. They were all doing well, I was looking to turn pro with someone like that. Generally, it’s a young, hungry, stable… I needed a change and needed to be around fighters with the same drive as me, with the aim to win wold titles.

What’s Tony like then, is he tough on you guys?

If you mess around, he’ll be on you. You can’t take the mick, he’s sharp and will be on you. It’s great to have someone like that, we can have a laugh, but in training, he’s on it and gets the job done.

Watch Joe Cordina against Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd, for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title, on NXTGEN, from the Ice Arena, Cardiff, August 4, live on Sky Sports Mix, from 7.00pm and Sky Sports Action, from 7.30pm.