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‘JoJo’ Diaz readies himself for Victor Terrazas, Gary Russell Jr. next?

Photo by Tom Hogan
15
Jan

Rising featherweight star “JoJo” Diaz will take a stay-busy bout before hopefully facing talented WBC titleholder Gary Russell Jr. later in the year.

Diaz, who is rated No. 7 by THE RING at 126 pounds, faces former junior featherweight titleholder Victor Terrazas on Feb. 22 at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

The 10-round bout will headline a “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” telecast, which will air on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes (11:30 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT). ESPN3.com will carry the telecast live, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT.

Diaz (25-0, 13 knockouts) is the WBC’s No. 1 challenger, but the California southpaw has struggled to secure his opportunity with Russell fighting on a schedule of once a year.

Although no date is set, the WBC recently announced that Russell can make a voluntary defense over the next couple of months. Should he emerge victorious, Russell would then be obligated to face Diaz.

Diaz last fought on Sept. 16, winning a one-sided 12-round decision over late-sub Rafael Rivera in Las Vegas. The 25-year-old technician, who is also rated No. 1 by the WBO, has won his last three bouts by decision.

“I look forward to making my 2018 debut,” said Diaz, who is managed by Ralph Heredia. “And what better way than by facing a tough, former world champion in Victor Terrazas? I will remind everyone why I deserve a world title shot by headlining this card (in) exciting fashion.”

Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs) returned to the ring on Dec. 15 after a 14-month layoff and was awarded a technical draw against Andoni Gago. The 10-round bout was halted in the fourth when Terrazas suffered a serious cut from a clash of heads.

It was Terraza’s first bout since his second-round knockout loss to unbeaten junior lightweight Eduardo Hernandez in October 2016.

Terrazas resides in the boxing hotbed of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

“I have faced great fighters in my career,” said Terrazas, who won the WBC 122-pound title with a win over Cristian Mijarez before losing it to Leo Santa Cruz four months later. “This fight against Joseph Diaz, Jr. will not be an exception. I think my experience will be very important. I have no doubts that I will leave with my hand raised.”

Also fighting on the Golden Boy Promotions card, in separate televised bouts, will be junior welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz (8-0, 8 KOs) and lightweight Christian Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs). No opponents have been announced.

 

Francisco A. Salazar can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.

 

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