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Joseph Diaz Jr. is a boxer competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Joseph Pedroza Diaz Jr. heads to his first Olympics at the age of 19, representing the U.S. in the bantamweight class (56kg/ 123 lbs). The teenager, who was born and raised in El Monte, California, was among the first three American fighters to clinch a spot at the London Games. Entering the 2011 World Championships in Baku as a relative unknown on the international amateur scene, Diaz pulled off victories in his first two bouts to earn a berth in the Round of 16. The opponent standing in his way of a trip to the Olympics: Mexico's Beijing representative and 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Oscar Valdez.

The two would go on to fight three epic rounds, with Diaz winning by the slimmest of margins, 22-21. While his quarterfinal match against Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez (the eventual gold medalist) didn't turn out favorable (he lost 19-10), Diaz left Baku with an all-important spot in the 2012 Games. As for a potential rematch with Valdez and/or Alvarez in London, Joseph welcomes it. "If he (Valdez) qualifies and goes to the Games he's going to want his revenge so I'm going to be ready for him. And with the Cuban, it was a good fight. He shocked me; I didn't know he knew how to use his range like that. I thought if I would have stood on him a little more I would have took him because I know of went with his fight. I'll be prepared for him in London and put that pressure on him."

One of the most grounded athletes on Team U.S.A., Diaz goes to church at least once a week and spends a significant time with his family, both at home and on the road at competitions. Decisions in the Diaz household are a collaborative effort. Asked about the first thing that went through his mind when he clinched a spot on the Olympic team, the humble Diaz made sure to pin the credit onto others. "I felt pride in my family, because they're the ones that motivated me to stay amateur. At first I didn't have much money and financially I was messing up. If I turned pro I could have started winning some money, but they said just wait it out, just wait it out, have faith, you can be an Olympian, you can make it to London. And I did." Diaz Jr. hopes to have both his father and mother come to the Games.

Joseph is named after his father, Joseph Diaz Sr., a local El Monte trucker driver for the Mayflower Company. When the elder Diaz first saw that his son was serious about boxing at a young age, he began watching YouTube videos to see what coaches were doing. Over the next few years big Joseph coached little Joseph while soaking up as much knowledge as he could, using everything from videos to literature (both online and in print) to speaking with other trainers. He continues to serve as Joseph Jr.'s coach, even as the young pugilist has ascended through the upper ranks in the amateur circuit. Says little Joe on the relationship between the two, "It's good he has all that time he puts into trying to make me a better fighter. He and I are a really good team. I trust him and whatever he tells me to do I do."

A natural athlete, Joseph played baseball up until he reached high school. With the chance to play on the varsity team looming, his school coach gave him an ultimatum: you can play baseball or box, but not both. Says Diaz Jr., "I love boxing and I know I can do something in boxing. I was always the smallest guy in baseball, and so I was like, eh, this is just going to be a hobby. So I quit baseball and put all my effort into boxing." One thing Joseph continues to pursue is bowling. His weekly (sometimes twice or even three times) outings to the alley with friends are "highly competitive," with the lowest scoring person responsible for buying the group dinner. Though he sports a respectable high score of 166, Diaz finds himself footing the bill "once every week or so."

Like most boxers, Joseph always needs to monitor his calorie intake, given the stringent restrictions that accompany weight classes. Hardly ever straying from his diet, Joseph eats a lot of fish, chicken, and takes protein after his workouts. When he does sneak in a treat, it's usually a coke or some juice. But as he puts it, "that's about it."


How old is Joseph Diaz Jr.? Where does Joseph Diaz Jr. live? Find out here.

Age: 23 years old
Birthday: November 23, 1992
Full Name / Real Name: Joseph Pedroza Diaz Jr.
Birthplace: El Monte, CA
Current Residence: El Monte, CA

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