Kissimmee, Fla. (June 11, 2018) — Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz wants to add his name to the storied list of Puerto Rican world champions. He will get that chance July 28 at the Kissimmee Civic Center, when he squares off against Masayuki Ito for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight title.
Diaz-Ito will stream live and exclusively in the United States at 9:30 ET on ESPN+ — the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. Undercard bouts will stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET. ESPN+ is available to all fans on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with All Star Boxing and Teiken Promotions, tickets to this world championship event will go on sale Tuesday, June 12 at 10 a.m. ET. Priced at $100 (red carpet ringside), $50 (lower bowl), and $30 (general admission), tickets may be purchased at the Kissimmee Civic Center box office, online at ticketerapr.com, or charge by phone at (787) 305-3600.
“This fight is dedicated to all of Puerto Rico and to my family that has always been there to support me,” Diaz said. “Now it’s my time to become a world champion, and I promise that I will bring home the world title. I love you, Puerto Rico. This one’s for you!”
“I am really pleased to be able to fight a great fighter like Christopher Diaz for the WBO title. Diaz is a very good fighter with power and speed, but on July 28, I will become the champion,” Ito said. “I will bring the belt home back to Japan without fail. I have promised my wife and children. I will fight as if my life depended on it.”
Diaz (23-0, 15 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is entering his first world title match riding a four-bout knockout streak. The WBO’s No. 1 junior lightweight contender, Diaz won the vacant NABO junior lightweight title last December with a third-round knockout of Bryant Cruz, knocking Cruz down five times en route to the stoppage. In his last bout, March 17 on the Jose Ramirez-Amir Imam undercard at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Diaz defeated Braulio Rodriguez via fourth-round TKO to earn the shot at the world title. For Diaz, this world title opportunity is beacon of hope, as his home and most of his possessions were destroyed when Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last year.
Ito (23-1-1, 12 KOs), from Tokyo, is the WBO’s No. 2 junior lightweight contender. He has won seven consecutive bouts since the lone defeat of his career, a 10-round majority decision to then-undefeated Rikki Naito in February 2015. Ito, who has fought all of his professional bouts in Japan, has won four of his past five bouts via knockout, including a ninth-round stoppage of Lorenzo Villanueva in April of last year. In his last bout, on March 3 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Ito stopped Vergil Puton in the ninth round.
For more information visit: www.toprank.com, www.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing, facebook.com/trboxeo, facebook.com/espndeportes; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing, twitter.com/trboxeo, @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo,@ESPNDeportes. Use the hashtag #DiazIto to join the conversation on social media.
ESPN+ is the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN. ESPN+ offers fans two exclusive, original boxing programs The Boxing Beat with Dan Rafael (Tuesdays, weekly) and In This Corner (twice monthly). In addition to boxing content, fans can watch thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. This includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket, the full library of ESPN Films (including 30 for 30) and more. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.