Jojo Diaz – A New Player at 135

Jojo Diaz

On Friday night, Joseph ‘Jojo’ Diaz announced himself as a major player at 135, dominating Javier Fortuna to win the WBC interim title by unanimous decision. Now at Lightweight after moving up from Super-Featherweight when he missed weight against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, who should Jojo Diaz fight next?

The fight

Jojo Diaz vs Javier Fortuna

In the Banc of California Arena, Los Angeles, Jojo Diaz dominated Javier Fortuna in a unanimous decision victory to gain the WBC interim title, with the scorecards reading 116-111, 117-110, 115-112. I had the fight 116-111 in Jojo’s favour.

Diaz was making his 135 lb debut, after failing to make 130 in his last fight. This was his chance to stake his claim as a top fighter at his new weight class.

Diaz looked comfortable at the new weight, having enough power for his opponent to respect him and not walk him down. The early fight was definitely in his favour, standing his ground and trading well and with vigour.

Fortuna, who has been at 135 lbs for a while, was struggling to get his game going early on with Diaz claiming centre ring and causing Fortuna to constantly be on the back foot.

In the third, Diaz is cut by a clash of heads but the cut wasn’t bleeding enough for the referee to cause a halt for the doctor to check. The 3rd round was likely the best of the fight for Diaz thus far, landing well from his southpaw stance.

A potentially fight-changing point deduction occurred in the 4th, with Diaz losing a point due to punching Fortuna on the back of the head. For the boxing fans, this is very ironic with Fortuna being infamous for punching behind his opponent’s head in fights.

As the middle rounds came, Fortuna was feeling like the tide was turning in Diaz’s favour so he comes in with heavy combinations, taking the fight to Diaz.

This fight was definitely in the balance, Fortuna taking control in the middle rounds, Diaz having the better of the early rounds. Diaz with the cut seemed slightly more tentative, his work coming in too few and far between.

In rounds 7-10, they were trading rounds, Diaz getting the better in some of those rounds, Fortuna getting the better in the others. This was a very close fight, both having a lot to deal with from their opponent.

As the championship rounds came on, the fight was very close but Fortuna likely slightly down on the cards. He needed a big statement to get the scores in his favour.

This didn’t come however, in my opinion, they split the rounds evenly, resulting in Diaz winning by unanimous decision on the scorecards. He’s now a major player at Lightweight.

Who’s Next?

Devin Haney

Devin Haney, the full WBC champion at lightweight is probably the fight that makes the most sense. Haney, recently coming through a decision win over Jorge Linares, now has a mandatory in Diaz and since both fighters have been fighting on DAZN, this fight is likely easy to make through the politics of it all.

Haney is still in negotiation with DAZN but all rumours seem to be that he intends on resigning from the streaming platform. This fight would announce either fighter as the second-best in the division behind Teofimo Lopez and no doubt, cause them to be on a course towards the undisputed fight.

Ryan Garcia

Originally scheduled to fight Fortuna for the interim title, Ryan Garcia would also be a fight that makes sense and easy to make. Both fighters are signed to Golden Boy Promotions and as long as Garcia is ready, having pulled out due to mental health issues, this fight would be another breakout for both fighters.

Diaz did call out the younger fighter in the post-fight interview and it would definitely be a fight that many would want to see on DAZN.

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