Undefeated featherweight and WBC number one contender South El Monte, California’s Joseph Diaz Jr (26-0, 14 KOs) held a media workout in Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon at the Azteca Boxing Gym in Bell, California for his upcoming title shot against WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr (28-1, 17 KOs) of Capitol Heights, Maryland. Diaz takes on Russell next Saturday May 19 at MGM Grand National Harbor live on Showtime. Here is what Diaz had to say.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime, fighting for a world title against Gary Russell Jr., is a dream come true,"
"I have no hostility toward Gary Russell Jr. I respect Gary Russell Jr., and I know what he brings to the table. Ever since I was brought up as a professional fighter I was always humble and I was always down to earth. Now that I have the opportunity to become the champion,"
"I need to bring this WBC belt back to L.A. and to South El Monte. I'll be the first champion coming out of there and I'm a role model to a lot of youth,"
Fighters from the Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN also participated in the workout as Filipino slugger Romero Duno (16-1, 14 KOs) of General Santos City, Philippines will take on Mexico City's Gilberto Gonzalez (27-4, 22 KOs) in a 10-round lightweight fight. The co-main event will feature Oscar Duarte (13-0-1, 9 KOs) of Parral, Chihuahua Mexico vs. Rey Perez (22-9, 6 KOs) in a lightweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds of action. Raymond Muratalla.
"I want this victory to prove to Golden Boy Promotions that they made no mistake in putting me in the main event. In 2016, no one knew who I was. But then I jumped at the opportunity and now I'm in the biggest fight of my career. I'm ready to impress everyone and give a great victory."
"I feel really motivated. I get to be co-main event on an ESPN card! I'm ready to go out there and win without a doubt. I know after this, only good things wait for me. I love training in the Coachella desert with Joel Diaz -- making weight is so easy when it's so hot out there! I'm excited for the next door to open after this."
"I'm making my pro debut. I hope I impress the boxing fans and let them know that I'm someone to watch. I have a really good amateur record with 74 wins and only six losses. I'm currently training with Joel Diaz in Indio and it's been a great experience. I'm ready to leave an impression."
Super lightweight contenderJavier Molina (17-2, 8 KOs) will return to the ring to face Jessie Roman (22-3, 11 KOs) in an eight-round 140-pound battle on Friday June 1 as they headline LA Fight Club live on Estrella TV. In the co-main event, Pablo “The Rubio (10-0, 3 KOs) takes on Rafael Gramajo (9-1-2, 2 KOs).
"I'm not nervous to be in the main event. This is my town, and at the end of the day Jessie Roman and I are still going to be able to shake hands because we have a solid friendship that is years in the making. This is a tough business, but at the end of the day that's all it is."
"We had a really tough camp this time around because I wanted to be ready. At the end of the day it's just business, but we're still friends.
"We were in the amateurs together and even though he was a couple years older and a little heavier, we still had the opportunity to spar against each other for a couple rounds. I'm fully aware of what I'm facing. This is my opportunity to show everyone what I've got.
"Unfortunately, things didn't work out with my opponent [Pablo Rubio Jr.], but I was ready catch some sharks. I'm ready to face whoever and wherever. I've been training hard, so I'm ready to fight anyone that night."
Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla