By Francisco Salazar
Junior welterweight Joel Diaz, Jr. will finally return to the ring tonight.
Diaz will take on veteran Miguel Angel Huerta in an eight round bout at the Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, California, located west of Sacramento.
Diaz (23-1, 19 knockouts) has not fought since June 9 of last year, when he was dropped four times en route to a second round knockout loss to unbeaten contender Regis Prograis.
The 26-year-old Diaz, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Palmdale, notched seven consecutive knockout victories prior to the fight with Prograis.
The long layoff may or may not benefit Diaz, but he will receive a stern test from Huerta, even though the 40-year-old fighter is near the tail end of his career.
Huerta (28-15-1, 18 KOs) also is coming off a long layoff, having last fought on June 23 of last year, when he was stopped by fringe contender Alan Sanchez after the fifth round.
The Mexico City resident was once a contender about 10-15 years ago, but has lost six of his last seven bouts over a span of about 10 years.
In the co-feature, Ryan Bourland (15-2, 5 KOs) of Sacramento will face Jose Hernandez in a 10 round light heavyweight bout.
The fight is a rematch of their Feb. 10 clash, where Hernandez (19-4-1, 9 KOs) won by majority decision over eight rounds. Bourland defeated Codale Ford by decision in his last bout on June 30.
Cruiserweight Blake McKernan (9-0, 6 KOs), who also resides in the Sacramento area, faces veteran Alfredo Contreras (13-21-2, 5 KOs) of Mexico in a six round bout.
In junior middleweight action, Rudy Macedo (7-0, 6 KOs) of nearby Novato will square off against Yasmani Pedroso (2-4, 1 KO) in a four round bout.
Don Chargin Productions and Paco Presents will promote the card. This will be the first promotion since the death of Don Chargin last Friday (Sept. 28).
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing