The big reveals in Eddie Hearn’s 30-minute Instagram Q&A this morning tended towards the “more info very soon” side of things, but a handful of concrete details snuck through, namely his confirmation that Joe Cordina and Josh Warrington would face their IBF mandatory challengers in “October/November” of this year.
IBF mandatories can charitably be described as “hit or miss,” but both champions have real fights on their hands. Cordina (15-0, 9 KO), last seen annihilating Kenichi Ogawa via Knockout of the Year candidate in June, will meet former title challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (16-0-1, 13 KO). “Shere Khan” was slated to meet Ogawa for the then-vacant title last year before withdrawing due to injury, and previously fought an overweight JoJo Diaz to a draw.
Rakhimov’s got the pressure and toughness to give anyone at 130 a headache, though you could say the same about Ogawa and we all know how that turned out. Still, he’s a worthy foe who’s capable of potentially upending the Cordina-Stevenson unification Hearn has his eyes on.
As for Warrington (31-1-1, 8 KO), he’ll take on Luis Alberto “Venado” Lopez (25-2, 14 KO), best known for upsetting Andy Vences giving Gabriel Flores Jr a hiding back when that was an actual accomplishment. Lopez’s only loss in the last four years came against Ruben Villa, and we know Warrington has a less-than-stellar history against Mexican sluggers.
Should Warrington emerge victorious, Hearn wants him to face Leigh Wood, though Hearn’s still trying to get a more equitable purse split for Wood’s ordered clash with Leo Santa Cruz.