Mexican knockout artist Iran “MagnifiKO” Diaz is heading into enemy territory ready to spring a shock.
Diaz will step into the ring to challenge Thai hero and WBC Super Flyweight World Boxing Champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai for his title in the main event of ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES in Thailand on 6 October.
Diaz knows he’ll be conceding the home advantage to Srisaket, with the bout taking place in the Impact Arena in the heart of Bangkok. But he plans on stepping through the ropes with superior preparation – and he’s enlisted a cast of legends to help him.
The Mexican star has called upon a bonafide legend of the ring to assist him in his big-bout preparations, with former four-division world boxing champion Juan Manuel Marquez joining his training camp ahead of the contest.
Marquez is best known for his knockout of Filipino national hero Manny Pacquiao in 2012, as well as his memorable 12-round classic with fellow countryman Marco Antonio Barrera in 2007.
And Diaz says he’s delighted to be able to learn from one of Mexico’s true all-time greats during his training camp for Srisaket.
“Juan Manuel Marquez is a legend of the sport. All Mexican boxers look up to him as an inspiration and a role model,” Diaz says.
“I am so elated to have him as I gear up for the first world title fight of my boxing career. It’s an honour to learn from the best.”
Such is Srisaket’s ability and reputation in the division, victory for Diaz will be considered by many pundits as a shock result. But Diaz has captured significant victories over world championship-calibre opposition.
Wins over former world champions Hernan “Tyson” Marquez and Luis Concepcion have solidified his status as a legitimate contender for Srisaket’s WBC title, and Diaz’s trainer Ernesto Salgado says his man is happy to learn from the insight and experience of Marquez ahead of the bout.
“We consider this to be a great opportunity for Iran to face one of the best super flyweights in the world today,” says Salgado.
“It’s his first world title fight. With Juan Manuel Marquez extending his helping hand, it’s huge for us.
“There is so much at stake in this fight. We will need all the help we can get to win.”
Diaz will also benefit from another former world champion. Juan Francisco Estrada is a former flyweight world champion and current super-flyweight contender who has faced a host of elite-level boxers during his career.
Estrada has a record fo 36-3 with 25 knockouts and has faced the likes of Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Brian Viloria and Carlos Cuadras.
But even more valuable to Diaz will be Estrada’s recent matchup with Srisaket, where he pushed the Thai world champion all the way to the judges’ scorecards in February.
“We are happy that Juan Francisco Estrada reached out to us and spared a little of his time to work with Iran,” says Salgado.
“He has given us some tips on how he thinks Sor Rungvisai competes, moves, and strategises inside the ring. It’s a big help. Sharing his insights on the Thai champion worked out in our favour.”
Estrada has interests of his own in the contest, with his upcoming title eliminator against Felipe Orucuta set to confirm the identity of the man who will face the winner of the Srisaket-Diaz clash at ONE: KINGDOM OF HEROES.
With elite insight and experience in his corner, Diaz believes he is perfectly placed to score an upset victory and capture gold in the first-ever world championship boxing match to take place under the ONE Championship banner.
“Coming into my opponent’s home country, I know it’s enemy territory. I know the fans will be cheering loudly for him, but I believe in my skills, and I believe in my talent,” he says.
“I am coming to Bangkok to score a huge upset.”