Fighter Of The Week: Joseph Diaz JR

The most anticipated weekend in American sports got off to a quick start in Miami on Thursday night as Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr of South El Monte, California was able to finally capture a world championship. The former US olympian failed in his previous two attempts. First, losing a hard-fought decision to master boxer Gary Russell Jr back for the WBC featherweight strap and then missed weight three months later when he was given the opportunity to fight Jesus Rojas three months later for the WBA strap, a fight that Diaz won but was not eligible to win the title as a result of missing weight. Now in his second weight class and his third and possibly final shot, the relentless Diaz would not be denied and outhustled Tevin Farmer to capture the IBF super featherweight title via UD by scores of 116-112 and 115-113 twice as well captured our Fighter Of The Week Award.

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A Farmer-Diaz fight has been in the making for months, ever since the two feuded and almost came to blows at a Las Vegas press conference for the Canelo-Jacobs fight back in May of 2019 and the two have been building up their anger towards each other ever since. The action in the ring did not disappoint. After an uneventful first round, an accidental headbutt opened up a deep, massive cut over Diaz’s left eye. A wounded Diaz bit down ignored the cut, and got to work. Pressuring the slick Farmer and forcing him backwards. Outworking and outlanding the champion, the California native took control of the fight in the middle rounds. Knowing the fight could be stopped at any time due to the cut above his left eye. Diaz worked tirelessly on the inside landing powerful combinations that seemed to really wear down the champ. Knowing he was closing in on a world title, Diaz was not about to be denied and staggered Farmer in the 10th round with a straight left hand and right hook combination and followed up with a whirlwind of power shots. Diaz kept the pressure up and kept taking the fight to a now stationary Farmer over the last two rounds and closed the show in impressive fashion to secure the well earned unanimous decision victory.

Demetrius Andrade v Luke Keeler

This is exactly the performance that Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy promotions needed, the now have another young, talented and marketable world champion. Diaz’s upset victory combined with his fan-friendly style and his newly acquired world title puts the newly minted champ in a great position to secure any number of lucrative fights including a rematch with Tevin Farmer, who had a rematch clause in his contract and will likely exercise that option. In the scenario that Farmer doesn’t exercise his rematch clause, an all Golden Boy showdown with WBA “Regular” champ Rene Alvardo or unification fights with Miguel Berchelt or Leo Santa Cruz would be fan-friendly all-action slugfests that would be big draws in the US and would mark massive paydays for the IBF champ.

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