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Joseph Diaz vs. Mercito Gesta set for March 18 on Ramirez-Rosado card

Fighters Network

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz and Mercito Gesta will square off in a crossroads bout between lightweight contenders on March 18, with the fight likely to take place at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State University in the greater Los Angeles area. The clash will precede the main event between former WBO light heavyweight titleholder Gilberto Ramirez and Gabriel Rosado.

Both fights will be part of a Golden Boy Promotions card that will stream live on DAZN.

Diaz and Gesta both posted on their respective social media accounts they signed their side of the contract to face one another. 

“Just signed my contract, I’ll be fighting March 18th against Mercito Gesta. Long Beach,Ca we showing out … see ya’ll then …,” posted Diaz.

“Contract signed!! We ready for March 18th,” Gesta posted. “Thank you, Robert Diaz, Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya, DAZN for the opportunity to be the CoMain Event on the #RamirezRosado card! Thanks Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz and his team, as we wil\l put on a great show for the fans! #DiazGesta”

Diaz (32-3-1, 15 knockouts), who grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of South El Monte, last fought on October 29, losing to unbeaten William Zepeda by unanimous decision. Prior to that, Diaz challenged current Ring Magazine lightweight champion Devin Haney for the WBC world title in December 2021 and lost a unanimous decision.

The 30-year-old is currently ranked No. 9 by The Ring and is a former IBF world junior lightweight titleholder. His last win came in July 2021, a one-sided victory over Javier Fortuna.

Gesta (33-3-3, 17 KOs), who is originally from Mandaue City in the Philippines and now resides in San Diego, has challenged for a world title belt on two occasions, failing both times. Gesta lost by decision to then-IBF titleholder Miguel Vazquez in December 2012 and to then-Ring/WBA champion Jorge Linares in January 2018. 

The 35-year-old has not fought since April 22, dropping Joel Diaz twice en route to a hard-fought unanimous decision victory. The win over Diaz took place almost two-and-a-half years after Gesta fought to a technical decision draw against Carlos Morales. 

Both Diaz and Gesta fight under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]