By: Ken Hissner
Top Rank, All Star Boxing and Tuto Zabala, Jr. bring a world boxing title bout along with 8 other bouts at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Florida on Saturday that will be shown on ESPN+.
Unbeaten No. 1 contender Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz, 23-0 (15), of Barranquitas, PR, will be taking on No. 2 contender Masayuki Ito, 23-1-1 (12), of Tokyo, Japan. This is scheduled for 12 rounds for the vacant WBO World Super Featherweight title.
Photo Credit: Peter Amador / Top Rank
Two fights ago, in December of 2017, Diaz defeated US boxer Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, 18-2. He stopped him in 3 rounds for the vacant NABO super featherweight title. In his most recent fight, a NABO title defense, he stopped Dominican Braulio “El Chavo” Rodriguez, 19-2, in 4 rounds in March of 2018. He has fought in the US in 14 of his 23 bouts with the rest in PR. Earlier in Diaz’s career he defeated US boxer Ray Ximenez, 13-0, for the vacant WBO Youth Featherweight title in San Juan, PR, in April of 2016.
Ito has held the WBC Youth World Lightweight, OPBF Super Feather and WBO Asia Pacific Super Feather titles. This will be the first time he has fought out of Japan. He defeated Filipino Jeffrey “The Bull” Arienza, 9-1-1, for the WBC Youth World Lightweight title stopping him in 10 rounds. He stopped Japan’s Dai Iwai, 17-3-1, in the tenth round for the vacant OPBF Super Featherweight title. In title defenses he defeated Japan’s Shingo Eto, 17-3-1, stopped Filipino Ernie Sanchez, 15-7-1, in 11 rounds.
Ito defeated Japan’s Takuya Watanabe, 30-6-1 along with winning Watanabe’s OPBF Super Featherweight title by decision over 12 rounds. He defended the OPBF title stopping Filipino Lorenzo “Thunderbolt” Villanueva, 33-2, in 9 rounds in April of 2017. He followed in 2017 stopping Filipino Glenn Enterina, 11-2-1, in 6 rounds and in March of 2018 stopping Filipino Vergil Puton, 17-9, in 9 rounds in his most recent bout.
In the co-feature Welterweight Gabriel “Tito” Bracero, 24-3-1 (5), of Brooklyn, NY, takes on Artemio Reyes, 25-2 (20), of Colton, CA, who is on a 10 fight 8 knockout winning streak over 10 rounds. Bracero has wins over Dmitriy “Star of David” Salita, 35-1-1, in 2013 and knocking out Danny O’Connor, 26-2, in 2015 in the first round.
Middleweight southpaw Esquiva Falcao, 20-0 (14), of Vitoria, BRZ, takes on southpaw Jonathan “Oso” 17-5 (13), of Mexico City, MEX, over 10 rounds.