Diaz tops Rivera to earn WBC title shot

By Miguel Maravilla at ringside

In the HBO PPV co-main event, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) of South El Monte, California won a unanimous decision against undefeated late replacement Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera (25-0-2, 16 KOs) in a 12-round WBC Featherweight title eliminator. Diaz boxed in the early rounds has he took time to feel out Rivera. In round four Rivera began to get aggressive as the composed southpaw Diaz stuck to the plan and continued to box.

In round five Diaz landed a snapping left uppercut as Rivera’s head snap back. At the halfway point in round six, Diaz continued to box as Rivera landed big shots. Continuing to box away in the seventh Diaz began to take control, however, Rivera landed a thudding punch in the final seconds of the round. Staying close on the inside Diaz and Rivera exchanged in the eighth round.

Diaz attacked the body and stood close inside on Rivera in round nine as the southpaw Diaz pressed. The tenth round saw Diaz land some snapping uppercuts as he continued to stay on top of Rivera. The championship rounds were all Diaz as he seemed poised working Rivera in route to a decision victory.

The judges scored the bout 120-108, 119-109, and 119-109.

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