The months of talk are finally over for Joseph "JoJo" Diaz (26-0, 14 KOs).
For a long time, Diaz has openly predicted victory over the heavily favored WBC featherweight world champion Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs).
The Showtime televised bout takes place at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Russell is not the most active fighter, with only a single ring outing in 2015, 2016, 2017 and this is his first bout of 2018.
Despite his inactivity, many few him as the most talented fighter in the featherweight division.
The champion has a single defeat on his record - and that loss was a twelve round decision to Vasiliy Lomachenko, who many regard as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
Russell is not very worried about this defense. He believes that he's going to blow Diaz out in the early round.
“I absolutely think Gary is overlooking me. I think he underestimated me. I’ve trained for this my whole entire life. This opportunity has been presented to me by my hard work and it’s really the opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t wait to show everybody my skills and what I’m truly about," Diaz said.
Joseph Diaz Sr., who is JoJo's father and trainer, has put together what he feels is a solid game plan to take Russell down.
And he feels his son will be ready for Russell's quick movements and explosive hand speed.
“Russell Jr. is a fast fighter. He’s skilled and he’s smart in there. We’ve been working on Joseph’s timing. Joseph’s a little deceiving because he kind of moves a little slow but he’s actually much faster than people think he is. The speed of Russell doesn’t affect us at all. Joseph has sparred and fought fast fighters especially in the amateurs," Diaz Sr. said.
“The plan is to go in there and beat Gary Russell up. And we’re hoping this win sets up bigger and better fights with the Santa Cruz and the Selby’s of the world. All of the champions. We’re hoping to get some of those opportunities because it will bring a lot of attention to the boxing world. Joseph will be a very good ambassador for the sport of boxing.”