Two of the best super featherweights in world boxing competed in the space of a week, with WBC champion O’Shaquie Foster and IBF counterpart Joe Cordina retaining their respective world titles in fights staged some 6,000 miles apart.
On October 28, in the maiden defence of his crown, Foster (21-2, 12 KOs) came from behind to stop the gallant Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez in Cancun, Mexico. It was already a terrific fight before Foster and Hernandez declared all-out war in a Round of the Year contender in the 11th. The champion closed out with a ruthless finish in the final session.
Meanwhile, Joe Cordina (17-0, 9 KOs) ventured to Monte Carlo for the second time in his career to face underrated challenger Edward Vazquez. Despite being pushed all the way by a skilful and intelligent challenger, Cordina retained his title on a 12-round majority decision and will now move on to bigger things.
MORE: Is the money there for Joe Cordina vs. O’Shaquie Foster?
Are Foster and Cordina the two best fighters in the world at 130 pounds? Who reigns supreme in this division?
The Sporting News gathered opinions from members of its combat team to decide the best in the world at super featherweight.
Gutierrez, a former WBA champion, is just clinging onto a spot in the ratings due in large part to a brace of points wins over Rene Alvarado in 2021.
However, we need to see more from the 28-year-old Venezuelan who surrendered his title on points to Hector Garcia last August before succumbing to an eighth-round stoppage defeat to Otar Eranosyan in his most recent fight.
Next Fight: No fight scheduled.
Still a work in progress, Samedov has steadily improved since turning professional in 2016. There was one blip early on in his career, but the Russian fighter is on an 11-fight win streak and he’s showcased his power in two stoppage wins this year.
The highlight performance thus far was a 10-round split decision win over the previously unbeaten Moussa Gholam last December.
Next Fight: Mark Urvanov on December 23.
Record: 20-0 (9 KOs)
Known as “The Savage”, Cortes is still to post the signature win that gets fight fans talking, but he’s heading in the right direction.
The Las Vegas resident is coming off an impressive win over Xavier Martinez and he’s eager for a world title shot. As it stands, he’ll continue to build toward facing the division elite.
Next Fight: Freddy Fonseca on November 16.
Southpaw Cacace has been on a good run of form since suffering his lone defeat to Martin J. Ward in a close fight in 2017. The Belfast-based lefty has since picked up the British title at the expense of Sam Bowen and defended once against Leon Woodstock.
In his two most recent outings, Cacace has scored decision wins over Michael Magnesi and Damian Wrzesinski.
Next Fight: Ryan Garner on November 18.
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Georgian fighter Eranosyan is a former amateur standout who has crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” as a professional.
With the exception of his debut, Eranosyan has only competed against fighters with winning records and he’s looked impressive. His biggest win to date came in his most recent fight against Roger Gutierrez. Despite being floored in the second round, Eranosyan came blazing back to stop the ex-champion in eight rounds.
Next fight: No fight scheduled.
The former Olympic champion from Brazil has had his share of bad luck in this weight division. Conceicao had his first world title shot against Oscar Valdez in September 2021 in a bout that was beset by controversy.
With just days to go until fight time, it emerged that Valdez had tested positive for a banned substance in both A and B samples. Incredibly, the commission allowed the fight to proceed and Valdez retained the WBC title by close decision.
Next up for Conceicao was then-IBF champ Shakur Stevenson. Again there were distractions when the champion came in one-and-a-half pounds over the limit and refused to take it off. Stevenson was stripped of the title, and it was on the line for Conceicao only, but the challenger dropped a wide unanimous decision.
Clearly talented, the former amateur star is due a bit of luck.
Next fight: Emmanuel Navarrete on November 16.
The highly-respected Rakhimov made a seamless transition from the amateur ranks to the professional game and has enjoyed considerable success.
Impressive stoppage wins over Malcolm Klassen and Azinga Fuzile set up a world title shot against then-IBF champ Joseph “JoJo” Diaz. Despite an impressive effort, that bout ended in a draw and Diaz retained his title.
Undeterred, Rakhimov earned himself a second shot at the vacant IBF title and made the most of it with a 10th-round stoppage of British technician Zelfa Barrett. In his most recent outing, Rakhimov pushed Welshman Joe Cordina to the limit but lost his title via unanimous decision.
Next fight: No fight scheduled.
Mexico’s Valdez entered this division as a former WBO featherweight champion with six successful title defences. And while he hasn’t quite had the same success at 130 pounds, the former amateur star has still posted some impressive wins.