by Cliff Rold
22-year old Jr. Lightweight Joel Diaz Jr. (16-0, 12 KO) of Palmdale, California, got the sort of rough but clear win that a fighter can grow from Friday night at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut, suffering a cut and being extended ten rounds for the first time in a unanimous decision win over 27-year old Tyler Asselstine (14-2, 7 KO) of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Both men came into the bout at the division limit of 130 lbs.
The referee was Danny Schiavone.
It didn’t take long for Diaz to rock Asselstine with a left in round one but the Canadian didn’t shy from the action and came back firing the right. An accidental clash of heads brought a caution from the referee in the closing seconds.
The next few rounds featured steady if unspectacular action, the southpaw Asselstine trying to work his right jab and land a left behind it while Diaz let his hands go with more frequency from the orthodox side.
Admonished by his corner to open up more before round five, Asselstine came out more aggressive and Diaz landed a good left hook because of it. Asselstine was returned to the back foot, losing his mouthpiece in an awkward exchange. Both men landed some hard shots in the round but it was Joel closing the exchanges to maintain the edge.
Round six saw both eyes of Asselstine begin to swell while the left eye of Diaz took some bruising as well. Asselstine lost a point for losing the mouthpiece again in round seven and returned to the corner with his trainer telling him he needed a knockout to win.
Asselstine did his best to try to change the tide in round eight, even busting Diaz with a hard forearm to the face. Late in the round, Asselstine broke through with a left hand that rocked Diaz and an accidental head clash left a cut above the left eye of Diaz.
There was little similar drama in the ninth, though Asselstine continued to rally. Diaz answered it early in the final round, stunning Asselstine with a booming left to the body. Diaz probed for a stopping assault but Asselstine covered up well. They both made it to the final bell where Diaz was rewarded with a trifecta of 97-92 scores.
The opener featured a clash of unbeaten Jr. Middleweights.
28-year old Frank Galarza (14-0-2, 9 KO), 153, of Brooklyn, New York, managed to stay unbeaten, holding off a rugged effort from 27-year old Sebastian Bouchard (8-1, 2 KO), 154, of Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, Canada, with a unanimous decision over eight rounds.
The referee was Joey Lupino.
Both men fought hard throughout, Galarza using movement and combination punching to bruise the face of Bouchard. Galarza suffered a cut in the corner of his left eye from a head clash, and lost a point for low blows in the final round, but doubled his foe in output and connections while maintaining a steady jab. The scores were clear for Galarza at 78-73 and 77-74 twice.
The card was broadcast in the US on Showtime as part of its “ShoBox” series, promoted by Jean Pascal Promotions.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]