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Joseph Diaz Jr, Andrew Cancio, Taishan Dong win in California

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Joseph Diaz Jr took another step toward contender status last night at the Fantasy Springs, with Andrew Cancio and Taishan Dong also winning fights.

Lina Baker/Instant Boxing

Featherweight prospect Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr closed a strong 2015 with another win on Friday night in California, stopping veteran Hugo Partida in the second round to win the vacant NABF featherweight title, taking another step toward contender status.

Diaz, 23, is now 19-0 (11 KO), and went 5-0 in 2015. The Golden Boy prospect and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team stopped Partida (21-7-2, 16 KO) at 1:32 of round two.

"We came with a great game plan to land effective shots right away and to dig to the body and try to hurt him," Diaz said after the fight. "I dug into the body in the first round and had him hurt. And then I put some good powerful shots on top and got him out. He connected with a good shot, but I didn't feel anything at all.

"I just acknowledge him for getting a good shot in. I didn't let it affect me at all. I knew that I had to take care of business and get the win no matter what. I hope to get the top 10 guys in my division, fight on the bigger networks and get a title shot by the end of next year. I feel very strong at this weight, and I make the weight pretty good. I just feel like 126 is going to be my weight."

Also victorious at Fantasy Springs Casino was Andrew Cancio (16-3-2, 12 KO), a tough fighter who has been up and down in his last five, beating Rocky Juarez, then losing to Roger Gonzalez, followed by a win over Jerry Belmontes, then a loss to Ronny Rios, and now another win over Rene Alvarado (23-6, 16 KO). Cancio, 27, won by TKO at 2:41 of the eighth round.

"We knew that it was going to be a tough fight," said Cancio. "Rene Alvarado comes and gives it his all. I mean, he went toe-to-toe with Jo Jo Diaz Jr. earlier this year. We trained hard for this, but we felt we were stronger, harder, and faster.

"We trained our butts off for this. I felt some ring rust. I thought, 'man this is a really hard fight,' it was harder than I anticipated. I knew it was close; some rounds were mine and some rounds were his. Once my corner told me he was hurt, I started throwing combinations. I landed an uppercut and a right, and he just couldn't get himself together so I got the TKO victory."

Heavyweight project Taishan Dong (6-0, 3 KO) was also a winner on Friday, though he expressed some displeasure with his performance, a four-round decision over Daniel Arambula (3-2, 1 KO) on scores of 39-36, 39-36, and 38-37. Taishan lost one point for repeatedly pushing his opponent down.

"I'm not very happy because I wanted the knockout," said Taishan. "I had a lot of practice, but I think I still need to train more."

Other results:

  • Welterweights: Oscar Torres UD-6 Evincii Dixon
  • Super Bantamweights: Rafael Gramajo UD-6 Michael Andrew Gaxiola (59-54, 59-54, 60-53)
  • Welterweights: Jonathan Dinong TKO-2 Deartie Tucker (1:29)
  • Junior Welterweights: Marco Magdaleno UD-4 Derick Bartlemay (40-36, 40-36, 40-36)