Super bantamweights seem to run supreme in the West Coast with a number of them streaking toward contention including former U.S. Olympian Jojo Diaz.
Diaz (18-0, 10 Kos) is one of many from the 122-pound division on his way toward a world title dream. That dream continues when the South El Monte native faces Hugo “Olimpico” Partida (21-6-2) of Mexico on Friday Dec. 18, at Fantasy Springs Casino. The vacant NABF featherweight title fight will be televised on Estrella TV.
Ironically Partida is also a former Olympian for Mexico and though his career hasn’t played out as planned, the prizefighter from Mexico City always plays rough. His bout against Julian “Camaron” Ramirez went the 10-round distance last October in L.A.
Both Diaz and Ramirez are part of the Golden Boy Promotions stable and when you add Manuel Avila, Oscar Negrete, Diego De La Hoya and probably former IBF bantamweight titlist Randy Caballero, that’s a power group. If the promotion company desires, it can have one hell of a super bantamweight tourney.
When you add Top Rank’s Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno into the mix it makes 2016 look like a great year for the super bantamweights. Almost as good as eight years ago when super bantamweight monsters like Israel Vazquez, Rafael Marquez, Oscar Larios and Jhonny Gonzalez roamed the weight division.
Diaz is closing out the year and has added more weaponry to his arsenal including a more aggressive approach. It’s always difficult making the transition from amateur style to that of a prizefighter. But the South El Monte boxer has knocked out the kinks in his style in back-to-back fights. He cruised to victory against Ruben Tamayo who gave Oscar Valdez a hiccup in their meeting earlier in the year. It was a good comparison fight to determine where each boxer fits on the virtual skill scale.
“He (Tamayo) was kind of awkward,” said Diaz of his last win. “But I was able to pick him apart.”
A potential match with Oscar Valdez and Diaz has boxing fans in the Southwest salivating. Both are former 2012 Olympians with Valdez representing Mexico. It’s a dream match further down the road if both continue their winning ways.
“Oscar Valdez is a great warrior,” said Diaz who has sparred several times with Valdez in the recent past. “But Oscar (De La Hoya) said let’s let that marinate for a while.”
The coming year of 2016 seems to be a breakout year for a number of super bantamweights and featherweights.
“Anybody in the top 10 I’m ready to fight,” Diaz said. “I want 2016 to be my stand out year.”
China’s heavyweight Taishan (5-0) will be facing Daniel Arambula (3-1) in a bout set for four rounds. The huge heavyweight has been training at the Hollywood Wild Card gym and sparring regularly.
“He’s done OK. He has sparred a lot of guys,” said assistant trainer Paul Mayorquin. “Some of the guys don’t come back.”
The companion main event features Rene Alvarado (23-5) of Nicaragua against Blythe’s Andrew Cancio (15-3-2) in a 10 round featherweight clash. Alvarado gave Jojo Diaz a very tough scrap when they fought at the L.A. Sports Arena this past summer. Cancio lost a tough encounter with Ronny Rios in his last fight almost two years ago, but defeated Jerry Belmontes and Rocky Juarez. It’s a very pivotal fight for both. Cancio may be rusty.
For more information on the Golden Boy card at Fantasy Springs Casino call (800) 827-2946.
OTHER FIGHT CHATTER
Pomona’s Sugar Shane Mosley (48-9-1, 40 Kos) heads to Panama where he’ll fight Venezuela’s Patrick Lopez (23-5, 13 Kos) on Thursday Dec. 17. Mosley, 44, a former lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight champion, will be meeting Lopez, 37, who formerly fought for Thompson Boxing Promotions based in Orange County. After a loss to Riverside’s Josesito Lopez he was released. The match between Mosley and Lopez will be held in Panama City in Roberto Duran Arena. Mosley’s last fight was in Los Angeles in August where he knocked out Nicaragua’s Ricardo Mayorga.
Cuba’s Luis Ortiz (23-0, 20 Kos) defends the WBA interim heavyweight title against Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (19-1, 10 Kos) in Verona, New York on Saturday Dec. 19. Ortiz, a southpaw, won the title by devastating knockout of Argentina’s Matias Vidondo last October in Madison Square Garden. It will be televised on HBO.
WBO middleweight titlist Andy Lee (34-2-1, 24 Kos) defends against Billy Joe Saunders (22-0) in a battle of left-handers on Saturday Dec. 19, in Manchester, England. Also, WBO super welterweight titlist Liam Smith (21-0-1, 11 Kos) faces Jimmy Kilrain Kelly (16-0). Smith was poised to fight Shane Mosley but his promoter backed off and chose Kelly instead.
Sullivan Barrera (17-0, 12 Kos) crushed Karo Murat (27-3-1) in the fifth round of their IBF light heavyweight title eliminator at the Glendale Civic Auditorium in Glendale. The Saturday fight card also featured Pedro Campa (19-0) defeating fellow Mexican Aaron Herrera by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in their super welterweight showdown.
Oscar Valdez (18-0, 16 Kos) returned home to Tucson and stopped Ernie Sanchez (15-7-1) at 57 seconds into round three in their featherweight contest. Valdez now lives and trains in Los Angeles. Also, Jose Benavidez (24-0) won by decision over Sidney Siqueira (26-11-1) in a welterweight match.
Roy Jones Jr. (62-9, 45 Kos) suffered a crushing knockout loss to Enzo Maccarinelli (41-7, 33 Kos) in Moscow, Russia on Saturday. Jones, 46, had been finding success and popularity fighting in Russia and recently was granted citizenship and given a gift watch from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Maccarinelli, 35, fights out of the United Kingdom and was probably picked because all of his losses came via knockout. Two right uppercuts and an overhand right left Jones unconscious in front of a stunned crowd.
New York’s Paul Malignaggi (35-7) captured the vacant EBU welterweight title by unanimous decision over Antonio Moscatiello (20-3-1) on Saturday. The match was held in London, England. Malignaggi has a large following in the United Kingdom and had promised to fight there for his fans. On the same card, British heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua (15-0) knocked out Dillian Whyte (16-1) in the seventh round. Tony Bellew who starred in the movie “Creed” was also a victor by decision.
Check out The Boxing Channel video for weigh-in results and more details!