WELSH Olympian Joe Cordina is advancing rapidly as a professional. He added the British lightweight crown to his Commonwealth title when he beat Andy Townend at the O2 in London last month.

But his ambitions do extend further. “I want a world title. But I know there are steps I have to take and hurdles I have to get over to get there,” he told Boxing News.

His next step to reach the top might well be the European title. He wants to challenge Francesco Patera. “Since I’ve seen Lewis Ritson box Patera, I thought Ritson was going to beat Patera, I thought he would have stopped him, from that fight I wanted that Patera fight. That’s a fight I was looking to in the future,” he said.

Cordina does keep good company. Former world champion Ricky Burns is one of his gym-mates and Joe is learning from the three-weight titlist. “It’s just hard work. There’s no shortcuts for anything, it’s just hard work. Because technically people look at him [Burns] and he hasn’t got the fan favourite style. But he does the basics very, very well and he works so hard. He’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever come across. He believes in himself and he’s willing to take risks. He’s a true professional and he’s someone I look up to,” the Welshman said.

“You have to have a little something else. A little bit of heart, a little bit of bottle and the hard work to go along with it. I believe I’ve got that. And being around the likes of Ricky Burns and Martin Ward, John Ryder, all these fighters. It just brings me on.”

There are other stars whose example he follows. He has spent plenty of time with Anthony Joshua in the GB gym. “AJ said to me one day, sacrifices keep the hunger. That’s why he stays in a little, s**** flat in Sheffield and he don’t go and buy a big gaff. The little sacrifices keep you hungry. I missed my two girls’ first birthdays through boxing. I’ve sacrificed so much of my teens, everything,” Cordina said. “For me I believe I’ve got that hunger. I believe I’ve got the talent, I believe I’ve got the work ethic. It’s not if, it’s when I win a world title. It might be in 10 years time if I’m still boxing then.”

Joe Cordina

“When I won the European championships in the amateurs, my daughter was born two weeks before. But leading up to it my whole mindset changed and it was not just for me now and my personal goals. It’s for my kids. That’s the way I looked at it. Everything I was doing I was constantly thinking about my unborn child and how hard I was working, I’d never taken myself to those limits before,” he continued. “I’ve got that pressure to deliver. To put food on the table and everything else. But I’m happy where I’m at. I’m working hard. I’m doing everything for my kids. That’s the way I look at it.”