Joseph "JoJo" Diaz made his childhood dream come true in January, when he became a world champion by defeating Tevin Farmer in a gutsy performance.
Now, Diaz will embark on a new era Feb. 13, when he faces mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in his first defense of the IBF junior lightweight title. Although the venue has yet to be determined, the fight will be streamed live and exclusively on DAZN. Patrick Teixeira defending his WBO junior middleweight title against mandatory challenger Brian Castaño will serve as the co-main event.
Diaz, 28, can't wait to get back into the ring and defend his strap and he's not underestimating Rakhimov at all.
“Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov is a very good fighter who is highly ranked throughout the world,” Diaz said in a DAZN press release. “I know he’s been aching for a world title shot, but I’m ready to go out there and showcase that I’m willing to fight the best and defend my title with whoever wants to step in that ring with me. I’m the hungriest I’ve ever been, and there is nothing that he brings to the table that can affect me.”
Oscar De La Hoya says Diaz hasn't worked this hard to become world champion only to squander his new status.
“After his participation in the Olympics and turning professional, Joseph had one goal: become a world champion,” said De La Hoya whose Golden Boy Promotions counts Diaz as one of its stars. “Everyone at Golden Boy Promotions was so proud when Joseph had his hand raised and realized his dream. Now that he’s got that belt, he’s not giving it back any time soon.”
The undefeated Rakhimov (15-0, 12 KOs) is looking forward to testing his skills against an aggressive Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs).
“I’ve been waiting for this chance for a long time,” Rakhimov said. “Thank you for this opportunity to my team. My training camp is long one but very good. I will do my best to win this fight. I came here for the victory!”
The Diaz vs. Rakhimov card will be live-streamed on DAZN in more than 200 countries, including the U.S., Mexico, Russia, Tajikistan, Brazil and Argentina.