Former IBF lightweight champ Julio Diaz made a huge statement Tuesday night when he knocked out Marco Angel Perez before the first round was over. It was a gorgeous right uppercut, and with Diaz’ new “No More Mr. Niceguy” approach, everything he throws now is intended to cause damage. BoxingTalk spoke with Diaz moments after his big win that aired on ESPN’s Tuesday Night Fights to get his thoughts on the knockout win, what it means for his career, and when we will see him in the ring again.
BoxingTalk: Julio, congratulations on your big victory last night?
Julio Diaz: Thank you, everything worked out pretty good.
BoxingTalk: Can you give us your thoughts on the fight?
Julio Diaz: Everything went perfect. It’s just like how I told you before the fight Darren, I was going to do the opposite of what I’ve done before. I was always trying to initiate the fight, but this time I just waited for Perez to make his mistakes. This is how you will see me fighting from now on.
BoxingTalk: You only landed two punches against Perez, and one of them was the knockout…
Julio Diaz: …Yeah, it just goes to show what kind of power I have at this weight. When I start eating I get huge, and I notice that I’m struggling a little more than usual to make the weight, but I like that because I’d rather sacrifice myself in the gym if it means I’ll see these type of results in the real fight.
BoxingTalk: Does that mean that junior welterweight is in the near future for you?
Julio Diaz: Maybe, but for now I want to keep enjoying this power I have at lightweight. I just excited. I’m going right back to the gym and keep on working, and I think my promoter Sycuan Ringside Promotions has me scheduled to fight again in August.
NOTE: BoxingTalk spoke with Michael Marley from Sycuan Ringside Promotions who informed us that they were in fact looking at an August 9th date at venue still to be determined. The opponent is still unknown but Marley made it clear that Diaz would fight a higher caliber opponent than Perez.
BoxingTalk: What statement do you think you made in your first round knockout of Perez?
Julio Diaz: That this is not at the level that I should be fighting at. I should be back on top where I was, fighting top opponents. I don’t think that my loss against Castillo should drop me down to this level.
BoxingTalk: Immediately after the fight you were shouting, “I’m back, I’m back!!!” Do you feel you are back to where you were before the Castillo fight?
Julio Diaz: Exactly, that’s just me, and that’s how I like to fight. When I first got to the level of fighting on big broadcast TV bouts, I starting changing because I wanted to look nice. I wanted to look good for TV, and I forgot about fighting instead of showing off my style and skills.
BoxingTalk: When you and I talked last you mentioned that you were, “No More Mr. Niceguy,” and that you would do what you had to do to get the win. You definitely did that last night.
Julio Diaz: Yeah, I don’t care how I look. I don’t care if I look bad or good. I just want the win. If it’s a brawl or a boxing match I just want the win. Either by KO or decision I just want the win.
BoxingTalk: Did you know after you hit Perez with that right uppercut that he would not be getting up afterwards?
Julio Diaz: I knew he was really trying to get up, but it just wasn’t there. He made a big mistake when he got overexcited with that big punch he landed, and then he tried it a couple more times, and I knew I had to make him pay for it. With guys like this you can’ t let them hurl themselves at you too much because trying to get them off you later could be hard. You got to make them settle down. The right uppercut I threw wasn’t meant to be a knockout punch, I just had to say to him, “Hey calm down, settle down a little.” Punches like that aren’t planned, it was more instinct, and I’m glad it worked out.
BoxingTalk: What does the Perez fight do for your motivation to get back on top?
Julio Diaz: I want to be in the big fights. I know Perez wasn’t a big fighter, but he wasn’t a pushover either. Right now, I’m happy for myself and I feel like I can hold my head up high again. Instead of people talking about my last fight when I lost, they’re talking about this fight. It’s like nothing ever happened.
BoxingTalk would like Mr. Diaz for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him continued success both in and out of the ring
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