Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. is hoping to turn over a new leaf.
In a series of candid tweets over the past weekend, the former featherweight titlist and current lightweight contender from Southern California admitted he has struggled with alcoholism and other drugs for the past few years. Apologizing to his fans, Diaz promised he would rebound, noting that while he has kicked his drug habit, he has yet to conquer his battle being on the bottle.
Diaz has lost three fights in a row, all by decision. His last fight, in March, was a split decision upset loss to Mercito Gesta over 10 rounds.
“I am sorry to all my fans that have been rooting for me,” Diaz tweeted. “I feel like I let you guys down. These past few years I’ve been an alcoholic.. it’s been killing me. I’m trying everyday to fight the urge and to stay away from it.. I want to express this and share this to world.
“And let everyone know that I’m going to go completely sober. Been sober from smoking and all other drugs. I feel great that I’m able to say that. I have one more battle to overcome and that is with alcohol. And I’d appreciate everyone if you guys can all support me through this
“I know without alcohol in my life I can still be champion and be the best in the world and I wanna give you all that version of me. I promise I’m going to do it.. I’m getting the help I need. Thank you all for hearing me out. Need to vent it out to the world. God bless.”
Hinting at a future fight, Diaz added, “In 4 weeks I’m going to Into the ring again a new and improved man.”
Diaz’s tweets drew broad support online, including Golden Boy President Eric Gomez.
“Proud of you JoJo!” Gomez wrote. “We are in your corner. Keep fighting kid, everyday. Show the world what we already know, you are a true Champion. Inside and out. @GoldenBoyBoxing @OscarDeLaHoya.”
Diaz has had a tumultuous life outside the ring for the past few years. In February, it was reported that Diaz had been arrested in a suburb of Los Angeles for “child neglect.” Last year, Diaz was the subject of a lawsuit in which an anonymous victim claimed the boxer had exposed his genitals to her via SnapChat when she was only 17 years old. Diaz was also in a legal battle against his former managers.
More recently, Diaz called out promotional stablemate Ryan Garcia to a fight after Garcia traded words with his promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy. Diaz and Garcia were actually set to fight each other in late 2021, but the fight failed to get off the ground after Garcia suffered a hand injury.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.