Christopher Diaz: ‘On July 28, Puerto Rico will have a new world champion’

Junior lightweight Christopher Diaz. Photo credit: Marilyn Paulino

Junior lightweight Christopher Diaz. Photo credit: Marilyn Paulino

 

Puerto Rico’s undefeated Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz, 23-0 (15), and Masayuki Ito, 23-1-1 (12), of Japan, will battle for the vacant WBO world junior lightweight title, on Saturday, July 28, on ESPN in the main event of a Top Rank show, at the Kissimmee Civic Center, in Kissimmee, Florida.

 

In the co-feature, welterweight prospect Carlos Adames will square off against Artemio Reyes and
undefeated middleweight contender Esquiva Falcao will battle tough Mexican Jonathan Tavira, over 10 rounds, as Falcao closes in on a world title shot.

 

Puerto Rico, a boxing-crazed island that has long cherished its ring heroes, now has an opening for a new boxing star. Longtime idol Felix Trinidad has been retired for a decade; Miguel Cotto shut his outstanding career down last December. Ivan Calderon has been gone from the ring for six years and Juan Manuel Lopez is long past his sell-by date. Puerto Rico is anxious for a new boxing idol and Diaz is currently in the process of submitting an application for the role.

 

The Diaz-Ito title fight became available when three-division champion and current WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko vacated the title, after defeating Jorge Linares, two months ago, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City.

 

Diaz has been perfect in 23 outings ,since turning pro, in 2013, and comes into this world title fight after four straight KOs, including back-to-back wins over Bryant Cruz and Braulio Rodriguez.

 

Diaz, who has stopped 15 of his 23 opponents, is a volume puncher, who uses aggression and a high work rate in the ring. In pre-fight interviews, Diaz, who is developing well under the strong tutelage of trainer Raul Rivas, expressed that he knows what fight fans like and he aims to deliver.

 

“The fans like aggressive fighters and that’s what I do. I move forward but I can box too,” he said. “For every fight, I come ready. The fans pay to see the fights and I appreciate that. I come to fight. I give a great show to the fans; that’s my job. I fight for me but I fight for the fans too.”

 

Diaz is very sharp and if he hurts his opponent, he’ll get him out of there. He has fast hands, is exciting and might just have all the boxes ticked to be the next big thing in Puerto Rican boxing. And if he has his way, he’ll leave Florida with a world title, on Saturday night, and start a new era in boxing for his beloved island home.

 

“It’s time to show the world what I’m made of. Being able to fight for a world title is the dream of every boxer,” Diaz said. “I am prepared for my first chance to win a world title. I have waited all my life for this moment. Now the moment is here. I’m hungry and focused. On July 28, Puerto Rico will have a new world champion.”

 

Diaz, who should have a strong showing of support from Orlando-area boxing fans, has all of Puerto Rico behind him, as he rebuilds his life, after his home, and most of his possessions, were destroyed, last year, when Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. Nothing would be a better addition to his new life than a world championship belt around his waist.

 

“This fight is dedicated to all of Puerto Rico, and to my family that has always been there to support me,” said Diaz. “Now it’s my time to become a world champion, and I promise that I will bring home the world title. I love you, Puerto Rico. This one’s for you!”

 

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

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