Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Set to Make First Title Defense on Stacked DAZN Card.
February 10, 2021
Anthony Saldana (131 articles)
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Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Set to Make First Title Defense on Stacked DAZN Card.

By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

This Saturday night the Jr. Lightweight Champion, Joseph “Jojo” Diaz Jr. (31-1, 15 KOs), will make the first defense of his title when he goes up against the undefeated Tajikistani, Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, live and exclusively on DAZN. Diaz Jr. hasn’t fought since capturing his title from Tevin Farmer in a unanimous decision last January in Miami. A fight in which Diaz Jr. completely controlled, but one in which he sustained a cut over his left eye that nearly ended the fight. Besides proving to fans that he’s one of the best boxers at 130lbs, a division that’s home to champions such as Miguel Berchelt and Jamell Herring, Diaz Jr. now fights for his new born son. When asked about defending his world title Diaz Jr. recently stated “Not only am I fighting for myself now, I’m fighting for my family, I’m fighting for my son, I’m fighting for my son to see better days and not struggle like how I was struggling growing up,” Diaz said. “Just to make sure that he’s on the right path and just to be thinking of that motivates me a lot. When asked about his opponent Diaz Jr. said “Rakhimov has a lot of determination. He applies a lot of pressure. He throws a lot of shots, but I feel like my experience and the talent that I have, and the IQ that I have, with everything that I’ve been through in my professional career, I feel like I’m just gonna be able to do what I’m capable of doing. And I’m gonna go out there and shine that night. I really wanna make a statement, and I wanna put the division on notice and show that I’m the best at 130 pounds on February 13th.” Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Rakhimov who produced an eighth-round TKO of Azinga Fuzile in his last fight will be trying to make his United States debut the epicenter for his biggest victory yet. 

In the co-main event Patrick Teixeira (31-1, 22 KOs) will be making his long-awaited title defense of his WBO junior middleweight title against his mandatory opponent Brian Carlos Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs). Going into the fight Castano is a heavy betting favorite (-650) to capture the title from Teixeira who last fought in 2019 in war in which Teixeira upset Carlos Adames. Teixeira the southpaw from Brazil, and Castano from Argentina, who also has not entered the ring since his knock out victory over Wale Omotoso in November 2019, were initially scheduled to meet on April 25, 2020. However, the card, like so many others, was canceled when the sports world shut down because of COVID-19. To prepare for his upcoming fight Teixeira brought in his rival Adames and the undefeated Vergil Ortiz for sparring. “I am very confident about this fight against Brian Castano,” stated Teixeira. “I am ready to defeat him and keep my title. There are great matchups at 154 pounds. I want to stay in this division and challenge Charlo, that’s the fight I want. I want to unify the belts and my goal is to become undisputed champion before a move to 160. I feel great at this weight, but lets be clear that I’m not looking past my opponent and I know it will be a great fight. The fans are in for a great fight, a war,” stated Teixeira.

Also on the Golden Boy / DAZN card Saturday night and the fight that may steal show, puts two local Southern California fan favorites against each other when Oscar Negrete (19-2-2, 7 KOs) takes on his friend and former sparing partner Ronnie Rios (32-3, 16 KOs) of Santa Ana, California. Negrete who has been in the ring with the likes of world champion Rey Vargas will have his hands full with the veteran Rios who has come away with three straight victories including a knockout victory of then-undefeated Diego De La Hoya. The WBA Super Bantamweight Gold Champion Rios looks to make the most of this opportunity, come away victorious and get another shot at a world title. “COVID-19 robbed all of us of something, whether it was memories, family members, friends, or in my case, a year of my boxing career,” said Ronny Rios. “I have lost opportunities to make up for, and I’m hungrier than I’ve ever been. That’s not good news for Oscar Negrete. I have a lot of respect for Oscar, but at the end of the day, I have one job and that’s to break the will of every opponent I face. My time to capitalize on the momentum I’ve built in this sport starts with this fight.” Negrete who is coming off a unanimous decision victory against two-time Olympian Alberto “Impacto” Melian stated “I am delighted to be returning to the ring against Ronny Rios on February 13th. Both he and I have a style that is very aggressive, and that’s going to guarantee a real war inside the ring. This fight will be very important in determining the future of this competitive division. That’s why I’ll be training at 100% in order to walk away with the victory and earn another opportunity at a world title.”

DIAZ VS. RAKHIMOV FIGHT CARD

  • Joseph Diaz Jr. vs. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov for Diaz’s IBF Jr. Lightweight title
  • Patrick Teixeira vs. Brian Castano for Teixeira’s WBO Junior Middleweight title
  • Ronny Rios vs. Oscar Negrete; Super Bantamweight
  • Shane Mosley Jr. vs. TBA; Middleweight
  • Bektemir Melikuziev vs. Morgan Fitch; Super Middleweight
  • Azat Hovhannisyan vs. Enrique Bernache; Super Bantamweight
  • Victor Morales vs. Jose Gonzalez; Featherweight
  • Dalis Kaleiopu vs. Eduardo Sanchez; Lightweight
  • Elnur Abduraimov vs. TBA; Lightweight

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Anthony Saldana