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‘JoJo’ Diaz ready for junior lightweight, wants division’s best after Charles Huerta

JoJo Diaz and Charles Huerta go face-to-face at the weigh-in. Photo by Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
08
Feb

Add another fighter who is throwing his name into the deep pool of talented junior lightweights.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz will make his debut at 130 pounds Saturday night when he squares off against Charles Huerta at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

The 10-round bout will be part of the DAZN stream (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

At Friday’s weigh-in, Diaz weighed in at 129.8 pounds, while Huerta tipped the scale at 130 pounds.

Diaz (27-1, 14 knockouts) last fought on Aug. 11 in Hollywood, California, winning by unanimous decision over Jesus Rojas. Diaz was unable to make the featherweight limit, weighing in at 126.5 pounds for the fight.

In his previous fight on May 19, Diaz suffered his only defeat as a pro, losing by unanimous decision to WBC featherweight titleholder Gary Russell, Jr.

After consulting with his team, a move up to 130 pounds seemed like the logical choice for Diaz.

“It was hard for me to make weight,” Diaz told RingTV over the phone on Thursday. “Fighting at 130 pounds means that I am not depleting myself and I’m not struggling to make weight.”

“I felt a lot stronger throughout this training camp. I feel a lot more confident. I’ve been sitting down on my punches during sparring. I’m going to box and if the knockout comes, great.”

Diaz will face someone he is very familiar with. Like Diaz, Huerta (20-5, 12 KOs) fights under the Golden Boy Promotions banner and has won four of his last six bouts.

Both fighters grew up in Los Angeles. Diaz was born and raised in South El Monte, while Huerta resides 17 miles away in Paramount.

Huerta has pulled off minor upsets over unbeaten fighters and prospects in six fights during a span of five years.

“I’m going to do my best to frustrate him,” said Diaz, who is managed by Ralph Heredia. “He likes to snap quick jabs and set up left hooks. He has a dangerous left hook. He knows how to walk his opponents down and constantly put pressures on his opponents. I believe he’s slower than me. I’m going to do my best to break him down with combinations.”

Diaz is not looking for another tune-up or stay-busy fight should he decisively defeat Huerta; Diaz believes he is ready to face the top fighters at 130 pounds.

“After the fight, I’m calling out all the fighters in the junior lightweight division. I’m calling out the winner between Alberto Machado and Andrew Cancio (which will also take place on Saturday night in Indio). I’m calling out Miguel Berchelt and Gervonta Davis.

“I know that Eddie Hearn reached out to Golden Boy about me fighting Scott Quigg. I want that fight or against any of the world champions. I want those fights. I don’t want any tune-up fights.”

Diaz does want to make a statement Saturday night at the expense of Huerta.

“I trained my ass off for this fight. I just want to fight the best of the best.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com 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 FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @FSalazarBoxing

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