- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Trainer Joel Diaz may have been fired by welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr., but he still has his hands full with other fighters. He has three boxers heading into main event fights.
On Friday night, featherweight prospect Diego De La Hoya --first cousin of Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya (who is also his promoter) -- will headline an "LA Fight Club" card in Los Angeles in the first show of Golden Boy Promotions' new deal with Spanish Language network Estrella TV.
Diego De La Hoya (11-0, 7 KOs), 21, will face battle-tested Jesus Ruiz (34-6-5, 23 KOs), who won his last fight, which followed an eighth-round knockout loss challenging Leo Santa Cruz for a junior featherweight world title in January.
"I will make this kid a world champion," Diaz said of De La Hoya.
On Oct. 10, Diaz will be in Manchester, England, because he is also the trainer of Las Vegas lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno (28-1, 12 KOs), who is getting his mandatory shot against Manchester's Terry Flanagan (28-0, 11 KOs), who will be making his first title defense.
"Diego Magdaleno I also feel will become world champion," Diaz said. "He has been working very hard for this fight and we are ready to go over there to England and get that title."
And then comes Oct. 17 (NBC, 4 p.m.), when Diaz will go into his second fight as the head trainer for 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (17-0, 8 KOs) of the Dominican Republic. Felix Diaz, no relation to Joel, will face former junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson (33-3-1, 17 KOs) in a Premier Boxing Champions main event at the Eagle Bank Arena (formerly Patriot Center) on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia -- right outside of Peterson's hometown of Washington, D.C.
Joel Diaz said the bout will be contested at a contract weight of 143 pounds, the same weight where Peterson fought his last fight, a majority decision loss to junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia in a nontitle bout. On that same April 11 card, Felix Diaz outpointed Gabriel Bracero at 142 pounds.
"I think Felix Diaz is coming on strong," Joel Diaz said. "I'm changing a lot of his flaws. He makes a lot of mistakes, so we're working them. I know Lamont Peterson is a tough fighter. He has more professional experience than Diaz but it's a great fight and a great opportunity for Felix Diaz to step up to another level."
Joel Diaz also is training former lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa Jr. (25-0-1, 18 KOs), who will face Antonio DeMarco on Sept. 26 in Birmingham, Alabama, on the undercard of Deontay Wilder's heavyweight title defense against Johann Duhaupas.
"If Tim doesn't want me to train him anymore, that's his decision, but I am still going to be very busy," Diaz said.