William Zepeda wanted to make sure everyone remembered his name after his most recent win.
The red-hot lightweight contender made sure to do his homework prior to arriving at that point, coming in fully prepared for his step up in class against former IBF junior lightweight titlist Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz. It was mission accomplished for the all-action fighter from San Mateo Atenco, Mexico, who soundly pointed Diaz by scores of 119-109, 119-109 and 118-110 in their DAZN-aired main event from Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California.
“I’m happy and very grateful for this win. But this isn’t just mine; it belongs to the whole team,” Zepeda stated. “I know he was a complicated fighter. I studied Joseph Diaz very well. There were a lot of comments on social media that this was the toughest test of my career. I passed this test with flying colors and now I’m ready to face the best at 135 pounds.
Zepeda (27-0, 23KOs) established his level of dominance from the opening bell. By his own admission, Diaz (32-3-1, 15KOs) struggled mightily to keep up with and offset the nonstop pressure of his younger counterpart, who set a Compubox record for most punches thrown in a lightweight fight. Zepeda launched more than 100 punches in each of the 12 rounds, throwing 1,536 in total—an average of 128 per round.
The win was the second straight to go the distance and the first time Zepeda fought past ten rounds. The 26-year-old southpaw saw his fifteen-fight knockout streak come to an end in a ten-round, unanimous decision win over former secondary WBA junior lightweight titlist Rene Alvarado on May 14 in Ontario, California. Diaz was a more established presence at lightweight, with Zepeda effortlessly turning away the challenge.
“We’ve earned that right to be among the best lightweights,” claimed Zepeda.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox