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Joseph Diaz Jr: I want Gary Russell Jr next

Joseph Diaz Jr doesn’t want to waste time if he wins his eliminator this weekend.

On getting a new opponent late in the game

“Once my manager called me and told me Jorge Lara pulled out, I told him, ‘Ralph, please tell me that I’m still fighting on the card and please tell me it’s still the WBC title eliminator.’ And he said, ‘check and check,’ so it’s still gonna be the same outcome and same goal, now it’s just different opponent with Rafael Rivera. He’s undefeated, 25-0, but it’s still the eliminator, and that’s what I really wanted. I want to get a title around my waist by the end of this year or next year.

“Unfortunately, Jorge Lara got injured. I really wanted to go out there and fight Jorge Lara and showcase to the fans that I’m able to withstand his power and duke it out and come out victorious with a guy who’s undefeated, a guy who a lot of people talk highly about. Maybe in the long run, I’ll fight Jorge Lara.”

“When I’m in training camp, I make sure I cover all my bases — boxing, brawling, making sure my defense is on point against a boxer or brawler. Jorge Lara is a brawler, he likes to swing, but you never know, he might have wanted to come with a different game plan. We make sure to cover all bases. ... It really doesn’t matter the opponent. I’m able to adjust. A really good fighter should be able to adjust.”

On Rafael Rivera

“We were supposed to fight Rafael Rivera before Jorge Lara. He was training already for me, then five weeks out they changed it to Jorge Lara, because the WBC wanted Jorge Lara instead. So I’ve seen his videos and what he’s capable of doing. I’ve seen what he has.”

On fighting for the WBC title if he wins

“My next fight, I want Gary Russell next. If it’s gonna be in December or early in 2018, I want it to be against Gary Russell. I feel like I’m ready for it.”

On being the main undercard fight

“It’s a huge deal. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime and a dream come true. Just thinking about it right now I’ve got goosebumps. Just knowing I’m co-main event on the fight of the century, probably — millions tuning in, thousands in attendance. It’s an opportunity I’ve dreamed about. I want to be the next superstar in boxing. I want to be the next pay-per-view star. It starts now. My time is now. This fight is my coming out party.”

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