Eddie Hearn and Joe Cordina planning to bring 'historic' nights back to Wales via Monte Carlo

Eddie Hearn has named Cardiff Castle, The Principality Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park as potential venues for Joe Cordina to fight in 2024. Credit: PA / ITV Cymru Wales

Eddie Hearn and Joe Cordina have set their sights on bringing 'historic' nights of boxing back to Wales.

Hearn has named Cardiff Castle, The Principality Stadium and Cardiff Arms Park as potential venues for the 'nicest guy in boxing' to fight in next year.

Before that, Cordina will need to be victorious in the first defence of his IBF super-featherweight title against American Edward Vazquez in Monaco on Saturday 4 November.

As the 31 year-old from St Mellons swaps the comfort of Cardiff for the marinas of Monte Carlo, he and Eddie Hearn spoke to ITV Wales to discuss the upcoming fight, Welsh boxing and chips, rice and curry.

"Believe me I'm not taking this lightly. Me getting the win is the difference between making big money and average money, putting my name down in history and setting up my kids future," Cordina says.

If legacy and financial freedom is what Joe Cordina is fighting for, then the Cardiff born boxer is well on his way to achieving both.

But the journey hasn't been smooth, since becoming Wales' thirteenth and only current boxing world champion the 31 year-old has overcome multiple setbacks.

After undergoing major hand surgery in 2019 there were doubts over Cordina's punching power and fears that another decorated amateur would fade into boxing's abyss.

However, the 'nicest guy in boxing' showed there was nothing nice about his right-hand after he brutally knocked out Japan's Kenichi Ogawa to win his first ever world title 17 months ago.

Cordina was due to defend his title last November, but suffered a hand injury, which meant the fight had to be postponed. As a result, the International Boxing Federation stripped him of his world title.

Less than six months ago Cordina regained his title and in doing so became the first Welsh two-time world champion. Now, with a list of box office fights ahead of him, and his city's greatest venues waiting to host him, Cordina is standing on the brink of greatness with Texan underdog Vazquez in his way.

Less than six months ago Cordina regained his title and in doing so became the first Welsh two-time world champion. Credit: PA

The man tasked with helping create Cordina's legacy is one of boxing's biggest personalities, Eddie Hearn.

Aswell as being a massive fight for his own career, Hearn believes that Cordina's progress has a knock-on effect for Welsh boxing as a whole.

He told ITV Wales: "For any country or area to thrive you need a flag bearer, a guy who's representing on the international stage and I think Joe's doing it incredibly well.

"He's a good man, a family man, he's someone that Cardiff and Wales can be very proud of... When Joe's there and he's performing in Wales, it allows those young stars to come through and keep developing."

The luxury of Monte Carlo is a far-cry from the St Mellons council estate Cordina was brought up in.

But despite admitting to enjoying the extravagance of Monaco, the 31 year-old insists there's nothing like home:

"You come here, you see all the finer things in life, it's a bit of motivation for you, not that I'd buy anything in here because it's too expensive but it's always nice to see the nice things.

"I still go to the same places, I still do the same things. I go outside Triple Crown in St Mellons and I'll sit out on the wall and eat my chips, curry and rice in a tray. I don't isolate myself from anyone, if you stop me in the street I'll chat to you until you're ready to leave. I'm one of the nicest guys in boxing I believe."

Behind the soft tone and quiet confidence, a seriousness emerges from Cordina when he starts talking about Welsh boxing.

There seems an awareness that the short-term progression of boxing in Wales goes hand in hand with his own success.

He says: "The fighters are relying on me to bring big nights of boxing back to Cardiff and that was my whole plan anyway when I turned pro. It's always a good feeling to have Wales to look at me to bring them big nights back."

Hearn seems to share Cordina's vision for Wales when he mentions Cardiff Castle and the Principality Stadium as venues for both future Cordina fights and the British mega-fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Connor Benn.

The promoter said: "We want to bring a big show to Cardiff, we would love to bring an outdoor event, we've met with the guys at Cardiff Castle aswell, we want to do something historic down there.

"You have a stadium there and it has a roof on it which is very handy for fights (in the winter) and you know we're in negotiations of course with Connor Benn against Chris Eubank Jr that could land January 27 so we'd have to see."

From chips, rice and curry in St Mellons to the grandeur of Monte Carlo, boxing fans across Wales will be hoping Cordina gets past the challenge of Saturday night. If not for himself, but for a nation standing on his shoulders desperate to see world-class boxing back at home.