Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (22-0, 13 KOs) will look to defend his NABF Featherweight Championship for the fourth time this year, as the former 2012 U.S. Olympian steps into the ring for a 10-round slugfest against Horacio “Violento” Garcia (30-1-1, 22 KOs) in the co-main event of Bernard Hopkins’s final fight on December 17 at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
“A world title has always been my goal and December 17, will be an incredible experience as I continue to pursue my dream of a being featherweight champion,” Diaz said. “Garcia is an extremely tough guy, but I am hitting my peak right now, and there’s nothing that’s going to stop me.”
“Joseph Diaz may be undefeated, but he’s never faced anyone like me,” Garcia said. “I am looking forward to coming to Los Angeles December 17, defeating Diaz and continuing my rise up the Featherweight division.”
“I have had a front-row seat to watch Joseph develop from an Olympian to a world-class professional fighter, and he is getting better each and every day,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO and Chairman Oscar De La Hoya. “While JoJo will face one of his toughest challenges his in Garcia, I am confident he comes out victorious and earns a world title shot in 2017.”
Final score result: Joseph Diaz UD 10 Horacio Garcia
100-90, 100-90 and 100-90.
Diaz, 24, was the quicker and more intelligent of the two fighters, though the resident of South El Monte, California left himself open for right hands and left hooks throughout the fight. In the early rounds, Diaz boxed well from the outside, but as the rounds progressed, Garcia, a 26-year-old native of Guadalajara, Mexico got better and better at closing off the distance. Indeed, there were many points throughout the fight when Garcia would have Diaz pushed up against the ropes, forcing Diaz to fight from his high guard. However, Diaz was able to land cleaner and harder shots to the body and head of Garcia, which began to take an effect by Rounds 5 and 6. In the later rounds, Diaz remained in control of the fight, but he was tagged and pushed against the ropes several times before the end of the final round. Despite how tough the fight was for Diaz, all judges scored the fight 100-90 for the NABF champion. “I knew I was facing a tough, experienced opponent, so my plan was to go in there and get him using my jabs, angles and everything I worked on in my training camp,” said Diaz. “I came in and got what I wanted and I’m very happy with the outcome,” said Diaz, who finished a prolific year of boxing in 2016. “It was a power versus speed fight,” said Garcia. “For every power punch I would throw, he would throw two. I agree with the judge’s decision, and we’ll hit the gym to make the adjustments,” said Garcia, who will surely return in 2017.