By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten 140 lb. prospect Felix Diaz will make his Showtime-televised debut on April 18, a night that will feature several other firsts for the 30-year old southpaw.
An opponent and a venue are still being sought for the ShoBox card, which will mark the first time Iron Mike Productions – Diaz’ promoter – serves as the lead for a Showtime boxing event. Among the list for a potential home for the show include Sands Resort Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with venues in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia also being sought among other locations.
A 2008 Olympic Gold medalist for the Dominican Republic boxing team, Diaz (14-0, 8KO) has struggled with ring activity since turning pro in 2009. The rising prospect was high among the crop of young talent signed in 2012 by Acquinity Sports – who has since joined forces with former heavyweight king Mike Tyson to become Iron Mike Productions.
While things have jumped off the ground for his promoter, Diaz hasn’t been quite as fortunate. The unbeaten boxer fought just twice in each of the past three years, with his last bout having taken place last August in Puerto Rico.
A significant push is in store for the Dominican southpaw in 2014, starting with a new corner. Diaz is now training in Oxnard, Calif., joining forces with 2012 Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia as he prepares for his televised debut.
“I’ve kept patient, waiting for a big opportunity and now it’s beginning to pay off,” said Diaz (14-0, 8KO), who is awaiting final confirmation of an opponent for his fight next month. “My manager Jose Nuñez suggested I hook up with (Robert) Garcia, and I’m already seeing the difference. I can’t wait to get in the ring (in April).”
Diaz couldn’t ask for better surroundings training with Garcia. Among the growing stable for the elite trainer includes several fighters in and around Diaz’ weight class, including welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana, former lightweight champ and current 140 lb. contender Brandon Rios.
Garcia has also put his brand on several current and former champs, including younger brother Mikey Garcia (two-division champ, current 130 lb. titlist), featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich, former three-division champ Nonito Donaire and middleweight contender Marco Antonio Rubio, among many others. The highly sought after cornerman believes he has another future champion in Diaz.
“Felix is a very talented fighter and I could see why he was an Olympic Gold medalist,” notes Garcia. “He works really hard and there a few things I would like to add to his arsenal to make him a complete fighter. I truly believe he will be champion one day.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Tags: Felix Diaz