Joe Cordina Forced To Withdraw From Shavkat Rakhimov Mandatory Due To Hand Injury; Stripped Of IBF Title

Talk about being hit with a hefty two-punch combo. In upsetting news – upsetting for two reasons – recently crowned IBF 130 pound champion Joe Cordina has announced how he has been forced to pull out of his scheduled November 5 mandatory title defence against Shavkat Rakhimov due to a hand injury and the recovery time he will need due to the surgery he has undergone (Joe has posted photos of his post-surgery hand on social media).

The fight, which would have been Cordina’s maiden title defence, was to have taken place on the under card of the Dmitry Bivol-Zurdo Ramirez fight. And now to the follow-up punch Cordina has been belted with (forgive the pun) – Cordina has been stripped by the IBF for pulling out of the fight. This action from the organisation has generated plenty of criticism, and rightfully so. It was just four months ago when Cordina scored a stunning KO win over Kenichi Ogawa to to win the belt. Now, having suffered a very real and very serious injury, Cordina is stripped?

Naturally, Joe is desperately disappointed.

“Absolutely gutted,” the 15-0(9) Cordina wrote on social media. “My fight in Abu Dhabi is off due to a hand injury which needed surgery, and to top it off, I’ve been informed that I’ve been stripped of the title. I worked my whole life and sacrificed everything to become a world champion, and I ain’t even had the chance to defend it. It feels like I’ve been robbed. Breaks my heart, honestly.”

Can there be anyone out there who does not sympathise, massively, with Cordina? This does look like a cruel move by the IBF, and you can bet promoter Eddie Hearn, who looks after Cordina (and was looking forward to seeing the 30 year old puncher land some well-deserved big fights over the coming months), will have plenty to say about this.

Apparently, Rakhimov will now face Zelfa Barrett for the vacant belt on November 5. Again, extremely harsh treatment from the IBF.