Dominican world-ranked contenders, junior welterweight Felix Diaz and junior featherweight Yenifel Vicente, both promoted by DiBella Entertainment, return home to compete in separate bouts held today at the Maunoloa Night Club and Casino, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“I am happy that Felix Diaz and Yenifel Vicente will end the year showcasing their talent in front of fans at home in the Dominican Republic,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Both Diaz and Vicente have proven themselves at their weights and I will work hard to bring them the best opportunities available in 2017. Diaz is a threat to any of the current junior welterweight world champions, including Terence Crawford. Vicente is always dangerous as he has the power to knock out anyone at 122 pounds and several divisions above.”
Felix Diaz (18-1, 8 KOs), the only boxer to win an Olympic gold medal for the Dominican Republic, is coming off of a career-changing performance back in July, winning a thrilling 10-round war against highly regarded, undefeated contender 21-0 Sammy Vasquez, at the Legacy Arena, in Birmingham, AL. The bout, which Diaz took on just a few weeks notice, was shown live on FOX, and served as the co-main event to Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title defense versus Chris Arreola.
The Vasquez fight came just nine months after Diaz’ lone blemish as a professional, having lost a questionable majority decision in October 2015 to former IBF junior welterweight world champion Lamont Peterson, in his adversary’s backyard. Wins over 15-1-1 Emmanuel Lartei, 13-2-2 Adrian Granados for the WBC Fecarbox title, and 23-1 Gabriel Bracero earned Diaz the shot against Peterson.
Following his victory over Vasquez, Diaz signed a long-term promotional agreement with promoter Lou DiBella. Currently ranked no. 7 by the WBC, no. 13 by the WBO and no. 14 by the IBF, Diaz is eager to seek out the best opposition in the junior welterweight division. He spent much of the summer calling out WBC/WBO world champion Terence Crawford, who opted to look elsewhere for his December title defense. Resolved to stay sharp, Diaz will end the year fighting in his native Dominican Republic for the first time in three-and-a-half years, taking on Nicaraguan Levis Morales (14-3-1, 7 KOs), who has wins over four previously unbeaten foes, in a 10-round bout.
“It feels great to be fighting in the Dominican Republic again, in front of my family and friends,” said Diaz. “I know Morales is motivated, but I’ve prepared myself very well and am coming for a knockout. After my victory, I will be focused on securing fights against the junior welterweight champions and division elite, and, yes, I still want to challenge Terence Crawford!”
Junior featherweight contender Yenifel Vicente (29-3-2, 21 KOs), now a resident of Miami, FL, is hungry to end the year on a high note. A pro since 2006, the 30-year-old Vicente began his career ascent with victories over the tough Francisco Lorenzo and former Olympian Hector Avila. Collecting title belts as he progressed, Vicente won the WBA Fedelatin, WBC Fecarbox and Dominican Republic junior featherweight championships. Having fought almost exclusively in the Dominican Republic, Vicente made his US debut in 2012 as an unbeaten contender on the rise. However, between 2012-’14, Vicente would win only three of his next six bouts. Each of his losses came by decision and took place at either featherweight or junior lightweight. During this period, he did seize the interim WBC Fecarbox junior featherweight belt, becoming the first to stop Jorge Diaz, then 17-1, with a fourth-round TKO in June 2013.
Since his last loss to IBF no. 3-rated Eric Hunter in March 2014, Vicente has won four straight, all by knockout. On December 8, 2015, Vicente scored the biggest victory of his career, knocking out 19-0 Juan Dominguez at the Sun National Bank Center, in Trenton, NJ. The bout was televised by Premier Boxing Champions on FoxSports1. Vicente landed a dynamite overhand right to the head, sending Dominguez down for the full count, just 20 seconds into round three, in what was a “KO of the Year” candidate. Though he has been somewhat inactive following the Dominguez bout, with just one win via second-round stoppage in Santo Domingo in September, Vicente is determined to regain the momentum he had en route to climbing back up the world rankings. Standing in his way tonight is former Dominican Republic featherweight champion Alan Guzman (18-2, 14 KOs), in an eight-round contest.