Featherweight contender Joseph Diaz Jr. will risk his position as a mandatory world title challenger by taking on former world titlist Victor Terrazas on Feb. 22.
The scheduled 10-round fight, announced by Golden Boy Promotions on Friday, will take place at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, in Indio, California, and headline the 2018 debut of “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 11:30 p.m. ET).
The 25-year-old Diaz (25-0, 13 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian from South El Monte, California, is the mandatory challenger for 126-pound world titlist Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs). A loss would derail Diaz’s title shot, which is expected to take place later this year, after he faces Terrazas and after Russell defends his belt this spring.
“I look forward to making my 2018 debut, and what better way than by facing a tough former world champion in Victor Terrazas,” Diaz said. “I will remind everyone why I deserve a world title shot by headlining this card [in] exciting fashion.”
Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs), 34, of Mexico, won a vacant junior featherweight world title by split decision against Cristian Mijares in April 2013 and then lost the 122-pound belt in his first defense in August 2013, when Leo Santa Cruz knocked him out in the third round. Terrazas is 1-1-1 since the loss to Santa Cruz and is coming off a four-round technical draw against Andoni Gago in December.
“I have faced great fighters in my career, and this fight against Joseph Diaz Jr. will not be an exception,” Terrazas said. “I think that my experience will be very important, and I have no doubts that I will leave with my hand raised.”
Red-hot junior welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), 19, of Dallas, will face an opponent to be determined in the eight-round co-feature.
Several other Golden Boy prospects will also appear on the card against opponents to be determined, including lightweight Christian Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs), featherweight Manny Robles III (14-0, 6 KOs), featherweight Edgar Valerio (10-0, 7 KOs), junior lightweight Hector Tanajara Jr. (11-0, 4 KOs) and lightweight Genaro Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs).