The upcoming DAZN show featuring Gilberto Ramirez now has a co-feature and location.
Joseph Diaz Jr. and Mercito Gesta have agreed to terms for a lightweight bout, both boxers confirmed through social media. The crossroads affair will land on the undercard of the already announced March 18 DAZN main event between Mexico’s Ramirez and Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado in a scheduled 12-round light heavyweight contest.
Details on the location are still being finalized, though BoxingScene.com has learned that it will most likely land at The Walter Pyramid, a 4,000-seat multi-purpose arena on the campus of Long Beach State University in Long Beach, California.
“Just signed my contract, I’ll be fighting March 18th against Mercito Gesta,” Diaz stated through his verified Instagram account. “Long Beach, CA, we showing out. See y’all then.”
Diaz (32-3-1, 15KOs) enjoys a relatively quick turnaround, despite coming off a second straight defeat. The former IBF junior lightweight titlist came up well short in a twelve-round, unanimous decision in favor of unbeaten William Zepeda last October 29 at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California.
The loss came nearly eleven months after the South El Monte, California-bred southpaw lost to Devin Haney via unanimous decision in their December 2021 WBC lightweight title fight. Haney has since become undisputed champion, while Diaz seeks his first win since a July 2021 victory over Javier Fortuna in his lightweight debut.
Diaz won the IBF lightweight title in a twelve-round points victory over Tevin Farmer in January 2020. The pandemic slowed his chances of successfully defending the title, which he relinquished at the scales after missing weight ahead of a twelve-round draw with unbeaten mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov, who has since won the title.
The fight with Diaz is a welcomed opportunity by Gesta (33-3-3, 17KOs) after watching plans fall through for a high-profile showdown with unbeaten lightweight contender Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19KOs). The two were due to meet in late January, only for Garcia to pull out of the fight as he preferred to head straight into a pending superfight with Gervonta Davis (28-0, 26KOs) which is targeted for this spring.
The development left Gesta pressed with a lengthy inactive stretch. The 35-year-old Filipino southpaw from San Diego has not fought since a ten-round win over Joel Diaz Jr. last April 21 in Indio, California. That fight was the first for the former title challenger since November 2019, with hopes of remaining more active.
It didn’t quite work out that way, though he still landed a quality matchup and payday for his next outing.
“Contract signed. We ready for March 18th,” noted Gesta. “Thank you Robert Diaz, Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya (and) DAZN Boxing for the opportunity to be co-main event on the #RamirezRosado card. Thanks Joseph Diaz Jr. and his team, as we will put on a great show for the fans.”
Headlining the show, Ramirez (44-1, 32KOs) attempts to bounce back from his lone career defeat. The 31-year-old southpaw from Mazatlan, Mexico failed in his bid to become a two-division titlist when dropped a lopsided decision to WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol. The fight was his first to go the distance since moving up to light heavyweight in 2019 after having held the WBO super middleweight title for three years.
Rosado (26-16-1, 15KOs) will fight at light heavyweight for the first time, while stuck in a three-fight losing streak. The 37-year-old veteran trialhorse lost every round in a ten-round decision to Ali Akhmedov last September 17 following competitive defeats to Shane Mosley Jr. and former WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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