Joseph "JoJo" Diaz goes from prospect to contender

Joseph "JoJo" Diaz goes from prospect to contender

By Hector Franco 

On the undercard of the Ande Ward – Sullivan Barrera bout at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California, Joseph Diaz (20-0) defeated Jayson Velez (23-2-1) in dominating fashion. Diaz won a clear unanimous with scores of 100-91, 98-92 and 99-91.  

This was Velez’s third fight in a row with a different trainer and he was coming off of a loss to Ronny Rios in his previous bout.  The first round was a feel out round for both fighters. Neither man took the advantage, but at the end of the first round Velez landed a straight right hand that left a cut under Diaz’s right eye. 

The second round saw both men exchange hard body punches. These weren’t shoeshine punches they were trading hard punches. Diaz with a minute left in the round gained the advantage by landing an overhand left hand that stunned Velez. Diaz took control and began to back Velez up while landing hard punches to the body and head. 

The Olympian from South El Monte took control in the third and fourth rounds as he counter punched Velez. The overhand left was continuously landing for Diaz. The only punch that Velez seemed to have any success with was a right hand when Diaz pulled back after throwing punches of his own. 

Diaz lands a right to the body of Velez. Photo by Ezra Shaw at Getty Images

Diaz lands a right to the body of Velez. Photo by Ezra Shaw at Getty Images

 

As the rounds passed by Diaz began landing more punches including right hands and right hooks to the body. Diaz had his best round in the 10th. The 2012 U.S. Olympian put all of his punches together and landed beautiful combinations on Velez. Velez showed the heart of a champion taking all of the punches from Diaz. Most of the punches especially in the 10th round landed flush on Velez. 

Joseph Diaz in the biggest test of his career put on an exciting performance and outclassed his opponent. It was an impressive showing for the young fighter. Fans can now look forward to seeing Diaz in the ring with some of the other top featherweights in the division.  Fights with Leo Santa Cruz, Lee Selby and Ronny Rios would all be welcomed at this point. The future may point to an eventual showdown with fellow Mexican prospect Oscar Valdez who is also promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. 

What’s clear is that Joseph Diaz is now a contender in the featherweight division. Fans can anticipate seeing him in the ring again later this year. 

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