It's a movement
Yet another date change has come with the Joseph Diaz-William Zepeda fight.
The latest update also comes with a home for the terrific lightweight crossroads bout.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Diaz-Zepeda will now take place on October 29 at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California. The latest shift—which was confirmed by Golden Boy Promotions on Thursday—marks the third unique date attached to the fight, which has moved from November 5 to November 19, back to November 5 and now on the last weekend of October.
The new fight date momentarily conflicts with a previous—and perhaps premature—announcement made by Fernando Beltran, head of Zanfer Boxing who insisted that Jaime Munguia (40-0, 32KOs) would be headlining the October 29 show at Pechanga Arena. An opponent was confirmed for the former WBO junior middleweight titlist, despite speculation that he would next face England's John Ryder. Neither DAZN nor Golden Boy cosigned on Beltran's announcement, which remains in limbo as this goes to publish.
Golden Boy is now armed with significant fight nights on back-to-back weekends. The new date puts the bout one week ahead of the WBA light heavyweight title fight between reigning champ Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) and unbeaten mandatory challenger Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs), which will take place November 5 in Abu Dhabi. Golden Boy promotes Ramirez and Diaz, though it was never in the cards for both fights to share a bill.
The adjustment will leave Diaz (32-2-1, 15KOs) out of the ring just shy of eleven months rather than nearly a full year. The former IBF junior lightweight titlist has not fought since a competitive but clear points loss to Devin Haney in their WBC lightweight title fight last December 4 in Las Vegas. Haney has since collected all of the lightweight titles in a twelve-round win over George Kambosos in their undisputed clash this past June in Melbourne, Australia.
Diaz came up short in his bid to become a two-division titlist, though did at least enjoy a three-fight 2021 campaign.
He began the year by losing his IBF 130-pound belt at the scales after missing weight ahead of an eventual twelve-round draw with Shavkat Rakhimov last February in Indio, California. Diaz then moved up to lightweight on short notice, replacing Ryan Garcia in a clash with Javier Fortuna whom he outpointed last July 9 in Los Angeles.
The win over Fortuna set up a planned showdown with Garcia, who withdrew due to a hand/wrist injury which prompted Diaz to then pursue a shot at Haney’s WBC title fight. The active 2021 campaign came on the heels of a career-long 13-month gap between fights for Diaz, who now heads into another dangerous assignment following an unwelcomed lengthy inactivity stretch.
Zepeda emerged as a lightweight to watch following a fifth-round knockout of Roberto Ramirez, with the December 2020 clash in Hollywood marking his U.S. debut. It was followed by his best win to date, a mercy stoppage of then-unbeaten Hector Tanajara after six one-sided rounds last July 9 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.
The same show saw Diaz outpoint Fortuna in his lightweight debut
The wins over Ramirez and Tanajara served as part of a fifteen-fight knockout streak for Zepeda, a 26-year-old southpaw from San Mateo, Mexico. That run came to an end as he was forced to go the ten-round distance in a unanimous decision win over former 130-pound titlist Rene Alvarado this past May 14 in Ontario, California.
Zepeda represents arguably the stiffest test for any top lightweight, though facing by far his best opponent in Diaz. The initial fight announcement was well-received by the boxing community, with the most recent round of changes delivering the fight one week sooner than originally expected.