Joseph Diaz Jr will take a second crack at a world title on Thursday night, this time at 130 pounds, when he faces IBF junior lightweight titleholder Tevin Farmer on DAZN’s Miami Fight Night card.
Diaz (30-1, 15 KO) previously challenged for the WBC featherweight title, losing a decision to Gary Russell Jr in 2018. He’s won four straight since then, and has been very vocal about wanting to get back into the world title mix since moving up in weight last year.
Diaz and Farmer (30-4-1, 6 KO) had an altercation last May, and traded a lot of words on social media over the following months. Now they’re just two days out from fight night, finally settling their score.
Diaz says it’s all been part of his plan.
“I wanted to fight the best for a world title, and that’s Tevin Farmer,” said Diaz. “I started calling him out because I knew I was going to climb up the rankings. I was talking shit to him at the press conference In Las Vegas, I threw out my hook and he caved in and fell into my net, started talking shit back and everyone wanted the fight to happen.
“Farmer could have chosen an easier fight, but he has a lot to prove to the critics and to himself that he’s the best in the division, and I feel I have a lot to prove, too. He’s talked a lot, so I hope he backs it up and brings it.”
Diaz, now 27, says his experience from the Russell fight will have him better-prepared this time around.
“I learned a lot from the Russell fight, knowing that I have to take more risks in there,” he said. “I could have had him and won the fight; I feel like I am a better fighter than him, but I let off the gas and I wasn’t opening up as much as I should have, but it was a learning experience for me, and it’s made me the fighter that I am today.
“I’m hungrier than ever. I know Tevin is a very good fighter, but I have a lot at stake, and it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. I have to go out and showcase to everyone that I am the next star of the sport.”
Diaz really doesn’t like Farmer — the feeling is mutual — but he does respect his ability in the ring, and knows he’s in for a tough fight. He simply feels he’s better than anyone Farmer has fought to date.
“I can’t wait to shut this guy up,” he said. “He’s a hell of a fighter though, don’t get me wrong. He’s a world champion for a reason, he knows how to win, he’s a talented defensive boxer, he knows how to dodge and make you miss and how to win rounds. But he’s never fought a guy as tough as me, his defenses have been against good fighters, but none on my level. I feel I am an elite-level guy and I have championship pedigree, and on Thursday night, it’s going to come out.”
Diaz also said that he wanted Farmer specifically because he feels Farmer is the best at 130.
“I don’t want easy fights; I could have gone down an easier route but that wouldn’t satisfy me,” he said. “I want to go out and prove that I will fight the best, and I want to win a world title by taking it from the champ. Tevin is the best fighter at 130 pounds right now, and I want to dethrone him and that would be the most satisfying way to achieve my dream.”
Style-wise, the California native and former Olympian says he’s ready for anything Philly’s Farmer can bring.
“If he wants to bang in there that’s cool with me, that’s my cup of tea,” Diaz said. “But if he wants to move around and create his angles and be slick how he is, trust me, I have got everything to capitalize and land the shots to hurt him, slow him down and land devastating shots. I don’t see it going 12 rounds. I think I will hurt him and make him feel my shots. I’m happy and ready to go 12 rounds with him, though. I’m not going to go in swinging for the fence, that’s what he wants. I’ll fight a smart fight.”