At the age of 23, Christopher is a four-year pro. A rising young contender, he moved up from featherweight to the junior lightweight division for his last fight.
He has an all-action style – he has headlined several fights cards and is a fan favorite wherever he fights.
Christopher stayed very active in the ring with six fights in 2014, six in 2015, five in 2016, and three in 2017. He also made very good progress – he stepped up in class of opposition, gave consistently impressive performances, and climbed to No. 6 in the WBO Top 10 world rankings.
He stepped up to 10-round status for the first time in his last fight on December 9 in New York, and won by third-round TKO against Bryant Cruz.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Christopher Diaz dominated late replacement Bryant “Pee Wee” Cruz, knocking him down four times in a third-round knockout victory.
Diaz was originally due to face Casey Ramos, but Ramos withdrew and Cruz took the bout on short notice, though he was only three weeks removed from a knockout victory.
Diaz got off to a fast start when he clubbed Cruz with a right hand followed by a left on top of the head that dropped him in the opening round.
Diaz continued to pour it on in the second, scoring two more knockdowns. The first came from a left hand to the head with about 30 seconds to go. Seconds later, Cruz was on the mat again after getting dropped with a left hand to the body.
In the third round, Diaz dropped Cruz for the fourth time with a right hand that caused [the] referee to wave off the fight 37 seconds into the round. [End Rafael item]
In his post-fight interview, Christopher said, “I felt great in my first fight at 130 pounds. It was the performance I was looking for.
“Now that Miguel Cotto is retired, I am here to stay and become one of the best superstars from Puerto Rico. I hope I bring happiness to my island after all we went through with Hurricane Maria.”
In an earlier interview, trainer Raul “Chino” Rivas said, “Chris did his pro debut with me – I had him before anybody else. He lived with me for almost a year after he graduated high school, he was only 18. We did four amateur fights and won them all, then I turned him professional. But then he left for Puerto Rico to be with his mother and two brothers. I said, ‘Go to Puerto Rico and I wish you the best.’
“We got back together for his last fight in April, 2017. I’m training him at the TKO gym in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. My team is so deep in talent that we don’t have to go anywhere else for sparring – they come to me.
“You know what? The reality is that Chris is ready for that elite level.”
In earlier interviews, Christopher said, “I’m not playing. I’m fighting for my baby now – I want to make sure her future is good. I’m working hard for her and my family and my mom.
“I’m hungry – I want to be champion. God is giving me an opportunity, and I’m not going to miss it.
“The fans like aggressive fighters, and that’s what I do. I move forward, but I can box, too. For every fight, I come ready. The fans pay to see the fights, and I appreciate that. I come to fight. I give a great show to the fans, that’s my job. I fight for me, but I fight for the fans, too.”
Regarding his nickname, he said, “My father’s nickname was Pitufo. When he died, in his honor I put that as my nickname.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Christopher said, “I was born in Philadelphia, USA, but my family moved to Puerto Rico when I was one month old. My father had all of his family in Puerto Rico, but he had been living in the U.S. for about a year. I got two brothers – one older than me and one younger than me. My mother is a nurse and my father was a builder. He died about 14 years ago. I’m the only boxer in the family. My father boxed when he was younger. He had like, 35 fights amateur.
“I was eight years old when I started boxing. I took up boxing like a hobby, like entertainment.
“I had 137 amateur fights. I lost like, 29 fights. The José Cheo Aponte Tournament was my final tournament as an amateur. I’m naturally right-handed.
“We lost a lot in Hurricane Maria – we lost all our furniture, we lost TVs, everything. But we have family here in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Orlando. My grandmother and grandfather are still in Barranquitas – I want to help them and make sure everything is good there – but Mommy’s living with family in Orlando, Florida, now, and they’re taking care of her. We’re going to rent a house in Orlando.
“I have a daughter now – she’s going to turn two on January 22nd. Her name is Zulierys. She’s my little baby, my princess. I work hard every day for her.”…
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole wrote [Dec. 8, 2017 – excerpts]: Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz was born and raised and still has a home in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. He did have a home, that is, until Sept. 20, when Hurricane Maria hit land in Puerto Rico.
When the massive storm finally subsided, Diaz got the bad news from family members: 95 percent of everything they owned was gone and their home was destroyed.
Diaz was in New Jersey, training for [his] bout with Bryant Cruz, when the storm hit. He flew his mother, his girlfriend, his brother and his daughter to New Jersey to provide them shelter, and plans to move the family to Orlando, Florida, after the fight.
Large areas of Puerto Rico, nearly three months later, are still without electricity or potable water.
“It’s a terrible situation and it’s going to take a long time to get back,” Diaz said.
He managed to focus on his training, he said, and plans to give an inspired performance against Cruz. After that, the focus will be on picking up the remnants of what was left of his life in Puerto Rico and leaving the only home he has known to move to Florida.
He said because of his love for Puerto Rico, he wants to move back some day but said he fears it is going to be a long time before it is rebuilt.
“It’s going to be two or three years to get back to normal,” he said. “So many cities have nothing: No roads, no energy [power], no water. A lot of people are trying to help, but what happened was so bad. It’s going to be two or three years to rebuild and a lot of people are going to be in need of assistance.”
After the fight, he said he’s going to Barranquitas to give gifts to the children to try to give them a respite from the tragedy.
“They need some happiness in their lives, you know?” he said. “We all have to do whatever we can because it’s so bad what has happened.”