At some point, Joseph Diaz Jr. will get to face Gary Russell for a featherweight title. That doesn't mean he has to grow cold waiting around for that opportunity.
The unbeaten 2012 U.S. Olympian and current mandatory challenger will top a February 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN, as he faces former titlist Victor Terrazas. Their scheduled 10-round clash—which will air live from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California—will likely be his last before entering the first title fight of his still young career.
"I look forward to making my 2018 debut," said Diaz, Jr (25-0, 13KOs), who was last seen in a 12-round win over Rafael Rivera on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin superfight last September in Las Vegas. "And what better way than by facing a tough former world champion in Victor Terrazas!"
From a style and current skill level perspective, it's a step down from the heights that the 25 year-old Californian has risen in advancing from prospect to contender. Still, it's means to remain active while his team works out details for an eventual showdown with Russell Jr., which according to the World Boxing Council (WBC) is due to take place no later than May.
In the meantime, he gets the experience of facing a boxer with championship taste.
Terrazas is far removed from his days as a 122-pound titlist, with just one win since beaten Cristian Mijares for the title way back in 2013. The 34-year old accepted this fight of the belief that a win over a rising contender will put him right back in the thick of things.
"I have faced great fighters in my career," said Terrazas (38-4-2, 22KOs). "And this fight against Joseph Diaz, Jr. will not be an exception. I think that my experience will be very important, and I have no doubts that I will leave with my hand raised."
The show will also include rising prospect Vergil Ortiz (8-0, 8KOs), along with a slew of young boxers from the Golden Boy stable.
However, it's the headlining act who plans to make sure he's most remembered by night's end.
"I will remind everyone why I deserve a world title shot by headlining this card exciting fashion," promises Diaz.