Unbeaten junior lightweight Joel Diaz Jr. and once-beaten Tyler Asselstine both measured at the 130-pound limit during Thursday's official weigh-in for Friday's 10-round ShoBox: The New Generation main event that airs at 10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast, from Foxwoods Resort, Mashantucket, Conn.
Trained by Abel Sanchez, Diaz (15-0, 12 knockouts) has scored eight of his career knockouts in two rounds or less, with six of those being in the first round.
"Style-wise, this is a good matchup for me," said Diaz. "He’s a southpaw. I’ve actually been sparring with a lot of southpaws…I can’t wait, especially because it’s the main event. I've been dreaming about this since I was a little kid to fight in the main event and now my dream is becoming a reality. I’m on Showtime once again, main event, 10 rounds, I’m ready to rock and roll. This is a great opportunity for me to show my fans how I’ve developed since I last fought on Showtime.
"I want to show them what I’ve worked on and I think I’ll win over some new fans tomorrow. Working with Abel has done a lot for my career. He’s a very good guy, outside the ring and inside the ring. He’s improved my boxing skills and I can’t wait to show them off. This might be the toughest opponent of my career. We’ll find out the first round. But we’re not going to get too big-headed. We’re just going to go in there, follow our plan and hopefully our plan gets us the victory."
Diaz is looking to rise into lightweight division, but faces perhaps his most difficult challenge in Asselstine (14-1, 7 KOs), who will be after his third straight victory.
“I would say he’s the toughest opponent I’ve faced," said Asselstine. "He definitely has the most power of anyone I’ve been in there with. He had a decent amateur career and he’s strong. But I’ve seen a lot of things I can capitalize on in the ring. At times his style and aggression will be a challenge. At the same time, he leaves himself open and I can sneak in there.
"The more he throws the more I can sneak in and do my work. This is my first fight at 130. I think 126 is definitely a better class for me – I only had to cut two pounds for this fight. I know I’ll be the smaller guy in there, but I’ll be fine. This fight is a huge opportunity for me so I had to take it. It's not like me to turn down an opportunity, especially one like this. After the fight I’ll move back down to 126 or even 122."
Streaking junior middleweight prospect Frank Galarza (13-0-2, 9 KOs) weighed in at 153 pounds, one pound less than rival Sebastien Bouchard (8-0, 2 KOs), who came in at the division limit of 154.
"I think every time I step into the ring I’m always looking to put on a show, to entertain the fans and give them what they want. They like to see people fight and dish it out, so that's what I’m going to do. This is going to be the fourth undefeated fighter we’ve faced, and I don’t mind that," said Galarza.
"I actually look forward to facing top prospects that are undefeated. It gives me more confidence as far as my boxing ability and what I feel capable of. If he wants a war we’ll give him a war. Sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for. The fans are going to see an exciting fight. I’m always going to put on a show, that’s my thing."
Bouchard appears to be ready.
"I think it will be a war. I know that's his style, but that's my style as well. I want to make it a war," said Bouchard. "With this opportunity, my foot is now in the door. I'm going to kick out the door and open it. This is only the start for me."
Co-promoter and former 175-pound titleholder Jean Pascal presided over Thursday's weigh-in at Fox Theatre at Foxwoods Resort Casino, an event being promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Jean Pascal Promotions. Galarza-Bouchard is also promoted in association with New Legend Boxing.
THABISO 'THE ROCK' MCHUNU RETURNS ON JUNE 6
South African cruiserweight Thabiso "The Rock" Mchunu will face Brazil's Julio Cesar Dos Santos on June 6 at Rembrandt Hall at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa, Main Events announced on Thursday.
A 26-year-old southpaw, Mchunu (16-1, 11 knockouts) is coming off January's unanimous decision over Nigerian Olanrewaju "God's Power" Durodola, ending the loser's winning streak of nine straight fights.
Prior to facing Olanrewaju, Mchunu virtually shut out former heavyweight title challenger "Fast" Eddie Chambers during a unanimous-decision in August.
"I am going to traumatize my Brazilian opponent, Julio Cesar Dos Santos, from beginning to end," said Mchunu, whose only loss was by sixth-round knockout to Zack Mwekassa in September 2011. "He'll take up soccer when I'm finished with him."
The 36-year-old Dos Santos (26-2, 23 KOs) will make his South African debut against Mchunu, having won four straight fights.
"Our plan for Thabiso is to keep him active to build a following for him here in the United States and continue to build on the following he has in South Africa with our partner, Showpony Promotions," said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events.
"Dos Santos is a tough opponent who will present a good test for Mchunu, and the bout is sure to entertain his fans in South Africa. A win will also move him up in the ratings, which brings us all closer to the goal of capturing a world cruiserweight title."