Cebu’s Gesta upsets favored American boxer Diaz with a split decision win in US fight

Mercito Gesta joined by his wife and his son in the ring after winning over Joseph Diaz Jr. | Screen grab from Golden Boy Promotions' video

Mercito Gesta joined by his wife and his son in the ring after winning over Joseph Diaz Jr. | Screen grab from Golden Boy Promotions’ video

CEBU CITY, Philippines— Cebuano lightweight contender Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta Jr. walked away with a split decision victory against former world champion Joseph Diaz Jr. in their 10-rounder Golden Boy Promotions main event showdown at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach California on Saturday (Sunday, Manila Time). 

It was an upset victory for Gesta against the more favored Diaz in their toe-to-toe battle from the opening round to the final bell. 

How the judges scored the bout

Two judges Alejandro Rochin and Patt Russell saw Gesta winning the bout, while Pam Hayashida had an opposite scoring, favoring Diaz in the score cards. 

Rochin gave Gesta, a former WBO NABO lightweight champion nine rounds to one, 99-91, over Diaz, while Russell saw Gesta winning eight rounds, 98-92, against the American boxer. Hayashida scored 97-93, in favor of Diaz.

The victory improved the 35-year-old Gesta’s record to 34 wins, 17 knockouts with 3 losses and 3 draws. 

Diaz Jr., a former IBF world super featherweight champion, dropped to a 32-4-1 (win-loss-draw) record with 15 knockouts.

Cebu’s Gesta uses jabs and straights

During the bout, Gesta banked on his jabs and straights. 

However, Diaz kept pressing forward and managed to defend himself efficiently against Gesta’s combinations. He was able to pin Gesta against the ropes numerous times, resulting to an exciting toe-to-toe exchange that electrified the fans at the venue. 

Diaz worked his way closer to Gesta and landed power punches that rocked Gesta, especially in the third round. 

However, Gesta weathered the round, and kept himself busy throwing combinations while moving away from within Diaz’s striking range. 

Gesta managed to dictate the pace of the bout with his constant movement and occasional jabs and combinations, keeping him busy throughout the bout. 

In the end, Gesta and Diaz provided the fans a highly-entertaining back-and-forth battle worthy of a main event bout. 

READ: Cebu’s Gesta to face American foe in main event of California fight

Next fight eyed

Gesta and Diaz’s bout was elevated to main event by Golden Boy Promotions after GIlberto Ramirez came in overweight in his light heavyweight bout against Gabriel Rosado, forcing them to scrap the bout. 

Gesta, a native of San Remigio town, north Cebu and currently based in San Diego, California will likely fight in the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia mega boxing match on April 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada after his victory. That is according to Golden Boy Promotions. 


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