Christopher Diaz stops Jose Estrella in three
Christopher Diaz looks like he is making a successful transition from prospect to world title contender.
The popular featherweight from Puerto Rico stopped veteran Jose Estrella in the third round late Friday night at the Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee, Florida.
With the win, Diaz improves to 21-0, with 13 knockouts. Estrella, who hails from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, drops to 18-12-1, with 12 KOs.
The 22-year-old Diaz, who resides in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico and is a stablemate of lightweight contender Felix Verdejo, has also become a local draw in Kissimmee, not far from Orlando and where an increasing number of Puerto Rican-Americans reside.
Estrella entered Friday’s fight having won four of his previous five, but Diaz’s pedigree was on display early on. Within 40 seconds of the opening bell, a left hook dropped Estrella to the canvas. Estrella was not visibly hurt and fought on, even pressing the action during certain sequences of the fight.
Diaz ended matters in round three, as he hurt Estrella with a right-left combination that wobbled Estrella. Diaz followed up with a left hook to the body that dropped Estrella. Referee Telis Assimenios counted Estrella out at 1:45.
Diaz is ranked number four by the WBO and has expressed an interest in fighting current world titleholder Oscar Valdez, who successfully defended his title Saturday night against Miguel Marriaga in Carson, Calif.
Featherweight Jean Carlos Rivera won a one-sided eight round decision over Jesus Pacheco, who falls to 7-6, with 1 KO.
The only blemish on Rivera’s performance was having a point deducted from him by referee Telis Assimenios in round eight for landing a low blow.
All three judges scored the bout 79-72 in favor of Rivera, who improves to 11-0, with 6 KOs.
Unbeaten lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez, who represented Honduras at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, broke down and eventually stopped Jorge Luis Munguia in the second round.
Lopez improves to 4-0, with 4 KOs, while Munguia drops to 12-9, with 4 KOs. Munguia had faced Zab Judah in his previous fight on Jan. 21 and was also knocked out in the second round.
Junior featherweight and Kissimmee resident Antonio Vargas (2-0, with 2 KOs) knocked out Emilio Rivera (0-2).
Vargas, who represented the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics, dropped Rivera within 10 seconds of the opening bell, courtesy of a barrage of punches. Vargas continued battering Rivera until he dropped Vargas again, this time with a counter right cross to the head. Rivera was counted out at 1:52.
Amateur standout and bantamweight Jeyvier Cintron was successful in his pro debut, defeating Leonardo Reyes (6-13, with 2 KOs) by unanimous decision over four rounds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing