Joe Cordina retained his IBF super featherweight title with a majority decision win over Edward Vazquez in Monte Carlo.
The Welshman, 31, had been stripped of the belt last year because of injury, but regained it after taking a hard-fought split-decision win over Shavkat Rakhimov in Cardiff.
In the early exchanges at the Casino de Monte Carlo on Saturday night, Vazquez looked to stay inside using quick combinations.
Cordina, though, started to find his own range and was soon more comfortable against the American as he landed several body shots and remained patient and looked to use his jab to keep Vazquez at a safe distance.
The Welshman landed a strong uppercut as his momentum continued before Vazquez again recovered ground with some solid counters of his own in the fifth.
Joe Cordina kept his undefeated record with a majority decision win over Edward Vazquez
Cordina said after the fight that ‘it wasn’t my best performance, but it still got the job done’
Cordina seemed content to work his jab between body and head to try to control the pace of the contest heading into the closing stages.
Although Vazquez, who was slightly cut above his left eye in the 11th round, went on the offensive in the final round, neither man was able to find a finish within the distance.
Cordina got the split decision 114-114, 116-112 and 116-112 on the judges’ cards to extend his undefeated record to 17 fights.
The Welshman is now expected to look towards a showdown with WBC title holder O’Shaquie Foster or an all-British clash with Leigh Wood, who is set to step up a division following victory over Josh Warrington and relinquish his WBA title.
‘It wasn’t my best performance, but it still got the job done,’ Cordina told BBC Radio 5 Live.
‘He didn’t hurt me at any point. Nothing was happening so I felt like I had to ignite something. I’ve seen him fight, he’s awkward. He’s better than I thought.
‘I’m happy. I got a win against a good fighter with a bad performance.’
Cordina got the split decision 114-114, 116-112 and 116-112 on the judges’ cards