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Joseph Diaz Jr. takes aim at WBA title

By Miguel Maravilla

Featherweight contender Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) of South El Monte, California will have his second world title shot within a four-month span when he goes up against World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Jesus Rojas (26-1-2, 19 KOs) of Puerto Rico this Saturday in the inaugural edition of Golden Boy Fight Night at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood, California.

Diazworkout Hoganphotos2
Photo: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

“We are days away. It’s almost fight time, I am fighting for the world title again. I’m excited for this fight and I’m ready,” Joseph Diaz Jr. told Fightnews.com®. “Come August 11th, I will have that title wrapped around my waist and I will be the champion that I deserve to be!”

Coming off a decision loss to WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. this past May, Diaz came up short in going into hostile territory taking on Russell in his hometown. Diaz talked about his defeat and experiencing his first defeat.

“My last outing, fighting for the world title against Gary Russell Jr., I learned a lot in that fight. Not just physically but mentally. I know what I am capable of doing in there. Had I just utilized my jab more, I was applying pressure but had I thrown more combinations I truly believe it would have been different,” Diaz on his defeat. “I believe because of Russell’s output he became victorious. This was a learning experience and I will bounce back,” Diaz added.

For Diaz and his team, it was back to drawing board after the first blemish of his career.

“There is nothing wrong with losing to Gary Russell but I was very disappointed in myself. I know what I’m capable of doing. It was a very heartbreaking loss but we got over it. My promoter Golden Boy Promotions and manager Ralph Heredia, they have faith in me and getting me another world title shot. That just motivates me and makes me hungrier. It’s a blessing,” Diaz stated

Diaz has been training with his father Joseph Sr. in his hometown of South El Monte in preparation for the hard-hitting Puerto Rican Rojas.

“Everything has been good, I have been training my ass off. My whole camp was phenomenal,” Diaz on training camp.

His opponent Jesus Rojas is coming off two impressive knockouts as he knocked out Claudio Marrero in seven rounds last September to win the interim WBA World featherweight title. In his previous fight, he stopped then undefeated Abraham Lopez in eight rounds. Rojas made a splash in 2012 as he was well on his way to stopping former world champion Jorge Arce but that bout was declared a no-contest as Rojas landed a punch in the back of Arce’s head. His only defeat came at hands of journeyman Jose Angel Barranza dropping a decision early in his career in 2008 and he later avenged that loss four years ago with a decision win. Diaz gave us his take on the hard-hitting slugger Rojas.

“The guy is a banger, a guy that is aggressive, puts the pressure and overwhelms you with vicious head and body shots. He is coming off two great knockouts, knowing that it’s his first title defense he will go out there to prove he is a champion. I am not taking this guy lightly, I know what he is capable of doing,” Diaz said about his opponent Rojas.

The 2012 U.S. Olympian Diaz, will look to add a title and add his name to the list of champions in the already talented featherweight division. Which includes WBC champion Gary Russell Jr., WBO champion Oscar Valdez, IBF champion Josh Warrington of England, and WBA champ Leo Santa Cruz. Let’s not forget former champions Abner Mares, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and Lee Selby.

“I know I belong with these elite fighters at 126. I still want to be the best 126 fighter and it starts off with Rojas. First I have to become champion than I can call out Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz, maybe get a fight against Abner Mares and work my way,” Diaz explained.

Styles make fights and Diaz promises action. Look for the southpaw Diaz to be the boxer puncher as Rojas the slugger, will be applying the pressure in what will be boxer vs. puncher. Diaz vs. Rojas will also be first Golden Boy Fight Night streamed on Facebook.

“I plan on giving an action-packed fight. I know Jesus Rojas. He is not going to back down and I’m not going to back down. I will go out there and give you all a great action packed fight,” Diaz promised.

“You will see a very strong Joseph Diaz Jr.” Diaz concluded.

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

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