Joseph Diaz outpoints Charles Huerta to win junior lightweight debut
INDIO, Calif. – Throw Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz’s name into the deep pool of junior lightweights.
Diaz battered and bruised friend and fellow Southern California native Charles Huerta over 10 rounds to win by unanimous decision.
It was Diaz’s first time fighting at 130 pounds after fighting his entire career as a featherweight. In his only world title attempt on May 19, Diaz lost a unanimous decision to WBC featherweight titleholder Gary Russell, Jr.
Huerta entered the fight having won four of his previous six fights over a span of five years.
The southpaw Diaz was sharp from the opening bell, sitting down on his punches while throwing and landing several combinations to the head. Huerta (20-6, 12 knockouts) was not able to get anything going, absorbing punches while fighting defensively.
Diaz stunned Huerta near the end of the fifth round by landing nine consecutive punches to the head. Huerta was able to make it out of the round.
The pace slowed during the second half of the fight, but Diaz was more assertive during the final round, looking as though he was going for the knockout. Huerta was able to hold on until the final bell, where both fighters shared an embrace in the middle of the ring.
All three judges scored the bout 99-91 in favor of Diaz, who improves to 28-1 (14 KOs).
Diaz did confirm the only way he would go down in weight is if a fight was offered against the likes of WBO featherweight titleholder Oscar Valdez or WBA featherweight titleholder Leo Santa Cruz. That remains to be seen, but the likelihood is Diaz staying at 130 pounds.
“I felt really strong at 130 pounds,” said Diaz after the fight. “I didn’t have to expend myself to make weight.”
Diaz told The Ring in an interview earlier in the week that he does not want a tune-up fight at 130 pounds.
“I’d love to challenge Tevin Farmer, Miguel Berchelt, and Gervonta Davis, who is fighting tonight. All of the top guys at 130 pounds.”
Aside from his father, who trains him, Diaz also had famed trainer Joel Diaz in his corner.
“It was a great experience for me having Joel Diaz in camp. I’m going to come to Indio (where Diaz’s gym is located) for the rest of my career.”
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