Joseph Diaz Reflects on Velez Win, Talks Strategy Against Proa

By Ryan Burton

2012 United States Olympian Joseph "JoJo" Diaz (20-0) is on the brink of a world title shot. The featherweight is currently ranked #2 by the WBC while Gary Russell the organization's champion.

Diaz returns to the ring Saturday night against Victor Proa (28-1-2) at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. The fight will be broadcast on HBO Latino.

"It feels great," said Diaz. "I haven't fought in like 3-4 months so it feels great to back in the ring and show everybody who I am. I am very anxious to get back in the ring."

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The 23-year-old Diaz last fought in March when he won a dominant decision over former title challenger Jayson Velez. The fight was Diaz's first on HBO and opened up the telecast as the co-feature bout in support of the Andre Ward-Sullivan Barrera headliner.

"Fighting Jayson Velez was a great opportunity for me. I gained a lot of fans and was able to showcase my skills to HBO and all the critics that I could be the next big thing in boxing and that I am a very good fighter and that I am a contender in my weight class."

"It was a good experience for me and I took advantage of it but I looked at the tape and I saw I did very well and I won every round but I felt I could have landed more shots and turned myself a little bit more to really hurt my opponent. When I was landing those shots I felt like I did hurt Velez but I could have landed more effective shots so this camp I have worked on that with my father to be a little more powerful," said Diaz.

Diaz hopes to fight for a world title by the end of the year but he is not looking past the veteran Proa. He hopes to slowly break him down and stop him later on in the fight.

"Victor Proa, I have seen a couple of his fights and he likes to move around and create angles and he is heavy handed. He is a counter puncher. I can't underestimate his power. The game plan is to feel him out, attack the body right away - so he isn't moving as much and then eventually when the opportunity presents itself I can sit down on my shots and land effective blows and hopefully get him out of there," Diaz told

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