Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Eyes World Title
May 16, 2018
Anthony Saldana (96 articles)

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Eyes World Title

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña


Saturday Night at the MGM National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Maryland, the undefeated south El Monte native Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (24-0, 14 KO’s) will get his chance to live out his dream and  fight for a world title when he takes on the WBC World Featherweight Champions Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KO’s). Diaz who grew playing baseball and being bullied turned to boxing at the young age of nine. “Since I was a little boy, I loved baseball,” Diaz said. “I was a pitcher, and a All-Star in little league, but I was chubby and kids used to pick on me. I told my dad about my situation, and that kids were making fun of me, so he took me to a boxing gym so I could learn to defend myself.” Diaz who ended up quitting baseball to focus solely on boxing went on to have an excellent amateur career. Diaz was the first American boxer to qualify for the 2012 Olympics by becoming a quarter-finalist at the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships, where he defeated both 2004 Olympic silver medalist Worapoj Petchkoom of Thailand and former world championship, bronze medalist and now current WBO Featherweight Champion, Oscar Valdez of Mexico. Shortly after the 2012 Summer Games in London Diaz signed with Golden Boy Promotions. Since turning professional Diaz has climbed to the top of the Featherweight rankings by defeating the likes of Rene Alvarado, Tino Avila and Jayson Velez to name a few. Now Diaz is the WBC #1 ranked mandatory challenger for Russell Jr. and vows to bring the title home. “I need to bring this WBC belt back to L.A. and to South El Monte. I’ll be the first champion coming out of there and I’m a role model to a lot of youth. That’s what makes me hungry and I’m one hundred percent confident I’ll be the champion and we will have a big parade in South El Monte, and you’re all invited” Russell Jr. on the other hand will only be defending his title for the third time since beating Jhonny Gonzalez and capturing the WBC Title in March of 2015 but Diaz doesn’t believe that Russell’s inactivity will weigh in on the upcoming bout. “I don’t think the fact that I’ve been more active will give me any advantage. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to be doing, he’s been inactive and he’s used to fighting just once a year now, but what makes him so dangerous is he’s very, very speedy and has great hand speed. Not only that but he knows how to use his hand speed and counter when guys are opening up. My father and I know what we are bringing to the table, and I’m fast, as well. I have a very high boxing IQ and I’m very powerful in there. I know how to land sneaky body shots and I’m a big 126-pound fighter, and that will be the key to victory. He will try and land his power shots, but they’re not going to be effective because I’m the bigger fighter.” For Russell Jr. the championship bout with Diaz Jr. will pretty much be a hometown fight in front of hometown fans as Russell Jr. who is from nearby Capitol Hill Maryland isn’t worried one bit about his inactivity in the ring or Diaz Jr.“We stay focused in the gym. The inactivity doesn’t mean anything. It’s no issue. I’ve had hand issues in the past but I’m able to preserve my body and stay sharp, stay focused. I’m a fighter that’s always in shape. I never take a day off. You can ask my wife. On anniversaries, we’re in the gym. On birthdays, we’re in the gym. I’m one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet. Speed, power, ring IQ, we can get ugly if we need to. I don’t plan on going 12 rounds. I’m not going the distance with anybody for the remainder of my career. Mark my words.”


The Joseph “JoJo” Diaz vs Gary Russell Jr fight will definitely be an all out action war. Diaz Jr. is a very good fighter who can bang with the best of the best or use his overall ring generalship and technical skills to flat out box. Diaz Jr. is a young, hungry and very big featherweight who will be facing the toughest challenge of his career when he takes on the savvy veteran Russell Jr. who will have to use his speed to match the power of Diaz Jr. Styles make fights and for Diaz Jr. I see this as an excellent opportunity against an opponent who will want to stay and trade with him. If Russell Jr. can’t hurt Diaz Jr. I believe that the power of Diaz Jr. will be his key to victory. Fans should look for Diaz Jr. to slowly break Russell Jr. down and possibly end the fight in the late rounds. My prediction is Diaz Jr. by late round stoppage. Although Russell Jr. is a slight betting favorite at (-145) I have a hard time seeing Russell Jr. boxing for 12 rounds without trying to engage Diaz Jr., and when and if he does the ring inactivity for Russell Jr., the power and Diaz being a southpaw will throw him off his game plan.


The Russell, Jr. vs. Diaz, Jr. is a 12-round World Championship fight for Russell, Jr.’s WBC’s Featherweight Belt presented by TGB Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions. The fight will take place on Saturday, May 19 in a clash live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.




Anthony Saldana