Welsh boxer Joe Cordina turns professional and signs with Matchroom

Joe Cordina
Joe Cordina was European amateur champion in 2015

Welsh Olympic boxer Joe Cordina has announced he is turning professional.

Cordina lost a split decision to Hurshid Tojibaev in the last 16 of the lightweight division at the Rio Games.

The 25-year-old won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and will fight at super-featherweight in the paid ranks after signing a deal with Matchroom.

"I've had my eye on Joe Cordina for some time - I believe he is an exceptional talent," said promoter Eddie Hearn.

"I feel there is real potential for a star to flourish in Welsh boxing but the goal is to make him a global star as well.

"Fans are really going to enjoy his style and watching his career unfold."

Hearn previously told BBC Wales Sport that Cordina was the top prospect in the Team GB boxing squad.

Cordina will train in Essex with Tony Sims and BBC Wales Sport understands he will sign a management deal with former two-weight world champion Joe Calzaghe.

He says he is looking to become a world champion within three years.

"After the Olympics, I knew that I was going to turn pro and I'm itching to get going," he said.

"I want my name up in lights in Las Vegas, that's the dream.

"I just want to put on a good show against anyone put in front of me, excite the fans and build up a profile.

"I want people to be talking about me and raving about my performances because in three years' time, I want to be fighting for a world title."

Cordina is hopeful he can emulate current Welsh world champions Lee Selby and Nathan Cleverly and has targeted winning a global title in his home city of Cardiff.

"People in Wales have been asking when I'm going to turn pro for a while now as they want to follow my progression," he said.

"Lee Selby has done great things, won a world title, Nathan Cleverly is a world champion again, but I think that people in Cardiff are waiting for someone to draw everybody in and I feel I can be the man to do that.

"I don't want to fight for my first world title anywhere but Cardiff, and I think that the Welsh public will get right behind me. I'm a very proud Welshman."

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