Joseph Diaz Jr seized the IBF Super Featherweight title with a stirring display to displace Tevin Farmer via Unanimous decision at the Meridian at the Island Gardens in Miami on Thursday night.
Overcoming an horrendous cut over his left eye in the second round, he prevailed on all three scorecards “It didn’t change the fight at all,” Diaz said of the cut. “I just pretended it wasn’t there. I knew it was pretty bad but I knew it was a championship fight. I’m a warrior. I got to go out there and get the W. This was my opportunity. I had to take advantage of it.”
Diaz was not to be denied tonight, pressuring Farmer who for the most part looked like a fatigued fighter in survival mode, trying to gain some traction by fighting on the inside without success.
Diaz was able to rock the champion in the tenth with a left hand before holding centre ring to leave no doubt of a winner, the judging at ringside come to the same conclusion with scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113.
“Tevin Farmer is a hell of a fighter. He’s been through everything. I respect him,” Diaz said afterwards. “I just thank him for giving me the opportunity, and I knew we’re going to have a rematch. So we will run it back.”
Murodjon Akhmadaliev won a split decision over Daniel Roman to claim Roman’s unified junior featherweight world title.
Creating history, Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) became the first Uzbekistan to be the unified champion, also matching former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks’ record of becoming a men’s unified titleholder in just his eighth pro fight.
Roman came into the bout on the back of the longest layoff of his career due to a severe shoulder injury with suggestion from even his own camp that he should vacate rather than take on the dangerous challenge of Akhmadaliev, especially after just a six week training camp, a suggestion which was instantly shot down by the now former champion.
“I’m a fighter,” Roman said. “I will fight anybody they put in front of me. He was the mandatory. You have to learn how to accept the victory and learn how to accept the defeat as well. I would like a rematch. Why not?”
Akhmadaliev was aggressive from the start, pressuring Roman whilst the champion stood his ground, landing the occasional body shot to gain the challengers attention.
This continued throughout the first half of the contest, a right left combination seemingly rocking Roman in the fifth. Roman remained composed, getting himself back into the contest in the second half, landing a beautiful uppercut that hit home at an alarming rate, a few in particular in the eighth which served as his best period.
The fight now seemingly on the line, Eddie Gonzalez told Roman that he was unsure on a result, prompting the champion to go in search of a stoppage.
Roman chased Akhmadaliev around the ring in the contests closer, landing an assortment of shots but ultimately coming up short when it mattered with the judges scoring the fight 115-113, 115-113 on two cards whilst Roman was ahead 115-113 on the third.
“I cannot describe what I am feeling,” Akhmadaliev said through an interpreter. “I’ve been through so much in my life. Now I am the first in the history of Uzbekistan to be the unified champion in eight fights. It’s something amazing.
“Danny Roman was the most proven 122-pounder in the world. I knew exactly who I was fighting and I was prepared for the best fighter in my division. It was a hell of a fight. He was very sharp.”
“It was a close fight. He’s a hell of a fighter, a strong fighter,” Roman said. “He’s a complicated fighter. He was the better man tonight.”