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Famous boxing brothers: Diaz


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I know I have written about Julio before, but I had to take the opportunity to write about another significant boxing family, the three Diaz brothers: Joel, Antonio and Julio. While the youngest Julio certainly has been the most successful, Joel and Antonio have also had significance, Joel particularly as a trainer. Only Julio managed to win a world title, twice, but the other two also fought for it. Even today, with all three having been retired for a while, this family is very respected and well liked in South California's boxing community. 

We of course start the story with the eldest brother, Joel. Born 18 February 1973 in Jiquilpan, Michoacan state of Mexico, Joel moved to Coachella, California, along with his family, in 1985. He worked in construction from an early age and delivered newspaper to earn enough money to support his struggling parents, who were field workers. He began boxing at 13 and at 138 pounds with trainer Lee Espinoza. He turned pro at 18, in April 1991. He won his first 9 fights (all on points), before getting knocked out in 4 against Tony Wilson. He won his next two fights before again being stopped, by TKO7 against Hector Lizarraga. He then won his next 6 fights and scored his first three ko wins, before landing a fight against the IBF-champ Philip Holiday, 19 October 1996 in Johannesburg. Overmatched Joel put up a fight but was outclassed and lost by 119-110 twice and 119-108. He would have only one more fight next year in April, where he stopped Jose Luis Montes by TKO9, before retiring. His record is 18-3-0 with 4 ko's. He then became a well known and respected trainer and trained countless world champions, as well as his two brothers.

Then we come to the second, Antonio, or Jose Antonio as his full name is. Antonio was a tough guy who could punch, but failed at the highest level. Standing 5'9, he was a tall light welterweight. Born 13 June 1976 in the same place as Joel (and Julio), he was 9 when the brothers relocated to Coachella. As amateur, he came to the 1995 Golden Gloves final and the 1993 Southern California Golden Gloves semi-final. He turned pro in July 1995 and turned out to be a much harder hitter than his older brother, scoring many ko's early on. On 21 September 1996, he fought Juan Lazcano and lost to him by MD6. He would then remain undefeated in his 25 next fights and on 20 December 1997 he won the IBA 140-pound title against Ahmed Santos by UD12. He would make 8 defences of this title and most notably beat Cory Spinks by SD, Emmanuel Augustus by UD and Ivan Robinson by TKO11. In August 2000, he also beat Micky Ward in a non-title fight, by UD10. He then got a chance to win the WBC welter title against Sugar Shane Mosley and fought him on 4 November same year, but was stopped by TKO6, after being down once in the second and twice in the sixth round. 

On 16 March 2002, he fought Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBO welter title and fought a great war against him, but after six rounds he started to tire and was eventually dropped and stopped in the tenth. This proved to be a turning point in his career and he never regained his former stature. In 2008, he won the WBO Latino super welter title by MD against Felix Flores, but in December 2009 he got stopped by the young up and comer Victor Ortiz by a corner retirement in 7. He retired after one more fight in 2011, with a record of 47 wins, 6 losses and 1 draw, scoring 30 ko's. 

It turned out that the one who would finally make his dreams come true was the youngest brother, Julio. Since I have already written about him in detail, I will only mention the most important bits. He was born 24 December 1979 and had a so-so amateur career, before turning pro in February 1999. Julio is about equally tall as Antonio, but fought most of his career as a lightweight. He went 23-0 before fighting Angel Manfredy in an IBF-eliminator in October 2001 and losing by SD after getting two points deducted. In May 2004, he finally succeeded at capturing his first IBF title when he decisioned Javier Jauregui by MD. He however vacated that title in order to fight the WBC champion and marquee star Jose Luis Castillo, eventually getting stopped by TKO10 in that fight in March 2005. In February 2007, he recaptured his old title against Jesus Chavez, who got injured and was unable to continue in round 3. He lost it in October that year against Juan "Baby Bull" Diaz, unable to continue after 8 rounds, due to receiving too much punishment in a toe-to-toe war. 

He lost several big fights after that and got stopped by Rolando Reyes by TKO5 in 2009 and knocked out by Kendall Holt in 3 rounds in 2011. In December 2012, he managed to get a draw against the rising star Shawn Porter in a 10-rounder and in April next year he gave Amir Khan a lot trouble and dropped him once, but lost by a close UD. After losing the rematch to Porter in October 2013, by UD10, he was stopped by corner retirement in 3 against Keith Thurman, another rising star at the time, 26 April 2014. He retired after that, with a record of 40 wins, 10 losses and 1 draw, with 29 ko's. Julio was most successful of the Diaz brothers because he was the most all-around talented one, being able to box and punch, but his chin was somewhat suspect, as he also lost by first round stoppage early on to the unknown Juan Valenzuela. He was still tough and came to fight, but it seems he had problems keeping the focus sometimes. 







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