Former lightweight world champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz of Houston has signed an 18-month promotional deal with Top Rank Inc., ESPN.com reported Thursday.
Diaz, 30, held three of the four major belts until he lost a split-decision to Nate Campbell in March 2008; it was Diaz’s first loss.
Diaz went 2-3 over his next five fights – losing twice to Juan Manuel Marquez and once to Paulie Malignaggi – before announcing his retirement after the second loss to Marquez in July 2010.
Diaz (37-4, 19 KOs) has fought twice since returning to the ring in April of this year. He is scheduled to take on Juan Santiago (14-10-1, 8 KOs) of Denver on Oct. 19 on the undercard of the Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov junior welterweight interim title fight at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. (on HBO).
Even when a boxer does very well as an amateur, he typically begins his pro career with four-round fights. Not Vasyl Lomachenko of the Ukraine.
Lomachenko won gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Games at featherweight and 2012 London Games at lightweight. Not only is he going to open with a 10-round featherweight bout, he is going to take on Jonathan Oquendo of Puerto Rico on the undercard of the Oct. 12 welterweight title fight between Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez at Thomas & Mack Center (on HBO pay-per-view).
Oquendo wonders about this move by Lomachenko.
“Lomachenko must have a lot of confidence making his professional debut against a fighter like me,” said Oquendo, 30. “He must think he’s really good. Let’s see what happens in the ring.”
Tickets remain for the Top Rank Inc. card. They are priced at $50, $100, $200, $300, $400, $600 and $800. They can be purchased by going online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling 702-739-3267.
Mike Alvarado of Denver and Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia will square off in a junior welterweight title fight Oct. 19 at First Bank Center in Denver (on HBO), YahooSports.com and BoxingScene.com reported Thursday.
This could be a good one. Alvarado’s past two fights were against Brandon Rios. Rios stopped Alvarado in the seventh round of a slugfest in October at Home Depot Center. Alvarado boxed more in their rematch in March in Las Vegas and came away with a unanimous decision.
Provodnikov most recently engaged welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in a barnburner at Home Depot Center in March, Bradley getting a narrow decision.
Alvarado, 33, is 34-1 with 23 knockouts. Provodnikov, 29, is 22-2 with 15 knockouts.
The event is being promoted by Top Rank Inc.
Top Rank Inc. and promoter Bob Arum have signed Olympic gold-medal winner Ryota Murata of Japan to a promotional contract, and Murata will be introduced to reporters next week at a Los Angeles news conference.
Murata won the gold medal in the middleweight division in the 2012 London Games. It was the first gold medal won by a boxer from Japan since Takao Sakurai won the bantamweight gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Murata’s medal also was the first medal won by a Japanese boxer in a division other than flyweight or bantamweight.
Murata, 27, will campaign in the middleweight division as a pro.
Top Rank not long ago signed Zou Shiming of China to a contract. Shiming won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games in the light flyweight division.