Joseph Diaz Jr had to vacate his 130 lb title on the scales in February, before fighting Shavkat Rakhimov to a draw, and the fighter heard plenty of criticism in the aftermath.
But “JoJo” saw an opportunity to move up in weight with purpose when Ryan Garcia withdrew from a July 9 fight with Javier Fortuna. Now, it’s Diaz in with Fortuna, with the interim WBC title and more importantly a shot at Devin Haney on the line.
Diaz (31-1-1, 15 KO) is one of many who have noticed Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KO) being sort of jerked around in the WBC 135 lb title scene the last couple of years, with planned fights against Luke Campbell, Jorge Linares, and now Garcia all not actually taking place.
But Diaz is prepared to make a big splash in his new division, too.
“I’m ready to defeat this boogeyman that everyone is scared to fight. I’m not afraid or worried about anything he’s going to bring inside that ring,” Diaz said at a media workout. “I’ve seen it all already. I’ve covered all of my bases in training camp, and I’m ready to perform.
“I’m ready to brawl with him, but I don’t think he’ll want to exchange once he feels my power. He’s going to try to be elusive and try to box. That’s the fight I am expecting. But I can also work with other styles too. If he wants to brawl, we can do that, too.”
An impressive win would come at the right time for Diaz, who could quickly shake the February mess and set himself up for another big fight.
“I want to deliver a spectacular performance. I’m going there to try to hurt Javier Fortuna. I’m really focused. I’ve just had one of the best training camps of my entire career, and I’m ready.”