CORONA-After a slow start Antonio Diaz slipped into another gear and used his experience to pound out a gritty victory over rugged Juan Pablo Montes De Oca of Las Vegas on Friday.

Diaz, a former junior welterweight titleholder, now fights as a welterweight and found Montes De Oca willing to stand and trade in their eight round welterweight battle before more than 2,000 people at Omega Products International.

“He was tough,” said Diaz (43-5-1, 27 KOs). “But I didn’t want to knock him out early either. I had a lot of friends that came from the Coachella Valley to see me.”

Montes De Oca (9-15-2, 6 KOs) jumped ahead quickly with his overhand rights and attack to the body in the first round. But Diaz changed things around in the next round.

“I was very tight with my punches and I felt a little tired,” said Diaz, who fought last month for the first time in three years. “He was able to catch me with punches.”

After stepping up the tempo, Diaz began to find the range for his counter right hands mixed in with some body punches. For the next three rounds Diaz was in control though Montes De Oca had his moments.

“I was glad to have a fight like this,” said Diaz.

Diaz said the quick return to the ring may have been too prompt but he was happy to get the work in the ring against a durable opponent who was able to withstand the Coachella fighter’s biggest blows.

The judges scored it 79-73 twice and 78-74 for Diaz.

Other bouts

Riverside’s Mauricio Herrera (6-0) continues to roll in his professional career and notched another victory, this time over South El Monte’s Santiago Perez (10-2-2), the son of the great Sugar Ramos. Herrera proved too quick in a very technical six round welterweight contest. The judges scored it 60-64 twice and 59-55 for Herrera. There were no knockdowns.

Tijuana’s Pavel Miranda (18-2) edged by Riverside’s Alex Viramontes (9-6) in a tight welterweight bout that saw both fighters have very good rounds. Miranda seemed to tire in the fifth round but rallied a bit in the final round. Viramontes pressured the Tijuana boxer from the beginning and was the stronger fighter at the end of the fight but the judges scored it 77-75 twice for Miranda and 77-75 for Viramontes.

Carson’s Daniel Hernandez (2-0, 2 KOs) landed a big overhand right for a knockout of Pomona’s Ricardo Sanchez (0-2) at 1:38 of the first round. There were few jabs thrown as both fighters raced for a knockout in a junior lightweight bout.