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  • By Miguel Maravilla Photos by Tom Hogan Golden

Joseph Diaz Jr. In for a Tough Fight vs. Horatio Garcia Saturday at the Forum

South El Monte’s 2012 U.S. Olympian undefeated featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (22-0, 13 KO’s) will have a big challenge when he takes on Horatio “Violento” Garcia (30-1-1, 21 KO’s) of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Diaz squares off against Garcia Saturday December 17 at the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, California live on HBO World Championship Boxing. We caught up with Diaz as he talked about his upcoming fight with Garcia.

"This upcoming fight against Horatio Garcia he is a tough Mexican warrior, a tough fighter. We know its going to be a tough fight," Joseph Diaz Jr. told Southern California "We know he is going to come in and try to pull the upset. We will go put there with a good game plan," Diaz added.

Having wrapped up training camp, Diaz trained in his hometown of South El Monte at the Teamsters Gym with his long time trainer Ben Lira and his father Joseph Diaz.

"I have been training at home. There was good sparring for this camp with Charles Huerta, Pablo Rubio, and Roy Tapia. I feel this is the best camp I have been training really hard. I put everything on the line. Now I feel I will showcase my skills," Diaz said about training camp.

Diaz is coming off an impressive stoppage over Andrew Cancio at AT&T Stadium the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Diaz battered and bloodied the always tough and durable Cancio in his pay per view debut.

"My last fight. I was fighting on pay per view in front of thousands of people. I was nervous at first, once I walked outside everything felt computerized it seemed fake. I started getting butterflies but once I entered the ring, I was like this is where I want to be," Diaz on fighting on the big stage. "I did what I did and I ended up coming out victorious. So this is what I have to do if I want to end up having my own main event one day but to fight on a card like this it was big exposure for me," Diaz on his win over Cancio.

This has been a special year for Diaz as he began the year with a unanimous decision over former world title challenger Jayson Velez in his HBO Boxing debut back in March at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Diaz followed up with a summer knockout over Victor Proa back in July.

"This has been the best year for me so far. I fought four times on HBO, I feel like this is where I want to be. Now that I am here I want to take full advantage of it," Diaz commented on the opportunities.

Now Diaz will set his sights on his Mexican opponent Garcia.

"I just have to get passed Horation Garcia for bigger fights and hopefully fight for a world title,"

Horatio Garcia is coming off a draw to Erick Ruiz, this past May in Vegas on the eve of Canelo Khan. His only loss came to two-time world champion and current WBC super bantamweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan.

"He was signed by Canelo, so he is training with all of his people. We see his is a very tough and strong fighter. He has a tight guard and keeps coming forward with a stiff jab," Diaz on his opponent Garcia. "We will get him going backwards I dont think he can fight of his back foot,"

The 24 year old looks to close 2016 with a statement as Diaz next year will be lurking at the already stacked featherweight division. Names include WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez, WBA World featherweight champion Carl Frampton, newly crowned WBA champion Abner Mares, WBC champion Gary Russell Jr., IBF champion Lee Selby, and former world champion Leo Santa Cruz.

"The game plan is to close this year with a tremendous win over a tough fighter. 2017 I want to make it my year and I want to fight these bigger names in the 126 pound division

Diaz vs. Garcia will be a scheduled ten round bout for Diaz’s NABF title as it will be the co-feature bout to Bernard Hopkins vs. Smith farewell fight.

"It's a blessing to fight on this card becasue Bernard has done a lot for the sport and he is just a good guy. He will go down as one of the best in the Hall of Fame. I am excited to be pard of this event," Diaz on fighting on the Hopkins card. "I will give you a fight to remember," Diaz vowed.

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