Diaz defeats Fortuna for WBC interim title

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Photo: Sye Williams/Golden Boy

By Miguel Maravilla at ringside

In a clash for the WBC interim lightweight title, Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. (32-1-1, 15 KOs) moved up to 135lbs and won a twelve round unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna (36-3-1, 25 KOs) on Friday night at at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. Scores were 117-110, 116-111, 115-112.

The two southpaws sized each other as they pawed with the lazy jab in round one, Diaz and Fortuna finished the round with a brief exchange with Fortuna connecting a straight left. Diaz stalked in round two as Fortuna showed flash. Things got rough in round three as Fortuna hit Diaz behind the head, referee Raul Caiz Jr issued s warning. Moments later a clash of heads opened a cut on Diaz’s left eye. In the fourth, Diaz was deducted a point for holding Fortuna’s head down as blood continued to trickle down Diaz’s eye. Díaz continued his attack.

Fortuna came out attacking in the fifth round as Díaz tied up but Diaz stalked and stood at close range attacking inside. In the sixth, Diaz stayed composed with his attack and did not panic despite the cut, Fortuna continued to be awkward. The 2012 U.S Olympian and former world champion Diaz seemed to set in past the halfway point in the seventh as Fortuna appeared to be tiring. Fighting inside in round eight, Diaz and Fortuna let their hands go and clinched as the fight appeared close.

It was an exchange on the inside in the ninth as Diaz pressed afterwards and had Fortuna backing up and staying away. Late in the fight in the tenth, Díaz landed a short right that staggered Fortuna as the local fighter Diaz attacked and had the crowd on their feet. In the championship rounds, Diaz continued to stay close attacking Fortuna. The final round saw Diaz and Fortuna not holding back as the fighters sensed the urgency but it was Diaz that got the better of it staggering Fortuna in the final minute.

“Javier Fortuna was a warrior,” said Diaz afterward. “I thought I would easily land body shots, but he’s a slick defensive fighter. He’s very talented. I wish him the best, and I hope he continues. When I saw the cut, I had hoped that it wasn’t as bad as the Tevin Farmer fight. It wasn’t, so I just dictated the pace from then on. I can fight all the big names, Ryan Garcia or Tevin Farmer!”

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  • I do not believe Diaz won this fight and it was absurd that one of the judges score card was 117-111. I like Diaz but he does not belong in the lightweight division. He has no power and will get destroyed by the top light weights, especially the champions.

  • Close fight. Could’ve gone either way. Scorecards were far to generous to Diaz.

    • It was a competitive fight but not close, especially after the point deduction. I gave the first six rounds, 11th, 12th, and plus a knockdown for fortuna.

  • Hometown judges gave Diaz every close round. That’s how it works. Fortuna needed a KO to win, but I do agree that Diaz edged it.

  • The fight I was looking forward to was the Diaz-Fortuna fight. I didn’t know if Diaz could hold his own in the 135 lb division with so much talent in that division. It looks like Diaz still hasn’t mastered how to go from defense to offense. He doesn’t punch out of the earmuff defense. He typically waits till the opponent stops, then goes on offense. He did this a lot more than he should have. It really cost him against Gary Russell, Jr. because after Russell finished every flurry, he moved quickly out of range. Fortuna was not as elusive as Russell, Jr.

    Diaz landed the harder shots and once he focused on the body had a great deal of success. Fortuna threw a lot of punches but most of them were arm punches without power behind them. Diaz was much more accurate with his shots. Diaz is still too economical with his punches for my taste. He really needs to move his hands a lot more when he’s in there with top fighters. He also needs to punch with them rather than go into the earmuff defense mode.

    I thought he won the fight despite the point deduction and taking the 11th round off. It was a close win but he landed the more meaningful punches throughout the fight. He doesn’t punch hard enough to bother the elite fighters but can have success if he focuses on the body before going head hunting. He had Fortuna hurting from the body shots in the second half of the fight.

    Fortuna was a test of sorts for Diaz. He’ll be able to beat most of the contenders in the division but I just don’t know if he can beat the elite in the division. He just doesn’t pack the firepower needed to gain respect from those top fighters. His future in the division remains to be seen.

  • Diaz is the new Adrien Broner in terms of not letting his hands go and being too economical. Notice how he said he’s ready for the top lightweights and called out Ryan Garcia and Tevin Farmer. He already beat Farmer at 130. What about Teo, Tank, and Haney? Those are the top lightweights.

  • No disrespect to either fighter, but how on earth was this for a belt? López holds the WBC “franchise” belt (whatever that is), Haney is the WBC World Champion and is active in the division and isn’t injured. Why then is there a third WBC belt in this division?

    • Yup, the WBA and WBC are a joke, as they created interims, gold, silver, emeritus, super, and regular champions for more sanctioning fees. Another reason why the WBC creates these elaborate belts when a mega fight happens so they can charge for a sanctioning fee, despite a WBC belt not being on the line. Crooked sanctioning bodies! They are making the IBF and WBO more legit, and that is saying a lot as they have had their own crooked histories. Ridiculous! Just as ridiculous as the WBC using an unfortunate situation and naming a new weight class Bridgerweight, trying hard to get it accepted. Adding a new weight class brings in more sanctioning fees.

      • I’m sort of used to the WBA “super” and “regular” distinction, even if it sounds silly to say “super middleweight super champion.”

  • If you go to the loo the WBC would create a belt for that. They and the WBA compete for the moniker of the biggest pimps in boxing.

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