Carson City boxer Diego Elizondo hasn’t fought in a year, but he’s hardly been inactive.
Since his third professional bout last May, the 20-year-old was married. On Dec. 23, Diego and Veronica Elizondo had a baby daughter, Violeta.
New daddy Diego returns to the ring on June 8, on the undercard of the Oscar Valdez-Jason Sanchez WBO world featherweight title fight in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. The opponent has not been named, but the weight class is expected be lightweight (135 pounds.)
“In the last two months I’ve been getting fully committed and it feels good to be back,” he said. “It’s a blessing that I get to fight again on such a big card.”
Elizondo is a crafty boxer with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He said he’s been criticized for his style and for coming out of a smaller town and gym in Carson City. He also has a large community of friends. With the announcement of a new bout, his phone and Facebook page are as busy as they’ve been since the baby was born.
“It’s been intense,” he said. “I appreciate everyone who supports me and even everyone who doesn’t like me. That’s also motivation just to prove them wrong. If I didn’t get criticized, I would think I was flawless.”
At 5-feet 10 inches, Elizondo is tall for a lightweight and lands long-range jabs to score points. He’s considered more of a boxer than a slugger.
“I can do both, though,” he said. “I can come forward and brawl. Or come forward and make you miss and give you different looks and angles. Or I can box you and move around the ring and use it to my ability.”
Oscar Valdez, the featherweight champ, is a fighter Elizondo wants to emulate.
“Valdez is one of my favorite fighters so just to be on his undercard is such a blessing,” he said.” I think he’ll win, probably by KO. I love the way he fights. He will brawl or he will move around the ring and hit you with big shots. He’s got multiple looks. Another reason I like him is he fought through a broken nose and a broken jaw (against Scott Quigg) and he still got the win. That’s talent and a lot of heart.”
Elizondo won his first two pro fights. He also fought Canton Miller of St. Louis to a four-round draw at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Elizondo appeared more skilled and quicker than Miller, who was a more experienced pro, savvy about tactics that are not allowed in the amateur ranks. After boxing the first two rounds, Elizondo brawled in the third and fourth.
At the end of the second round, Miller landed a low blow at the bell. Many more would follow and in the fourth, the referee allowed Elizondo time to recover but did not take a point from Miller.
“That guy was the definition of a dog,” Elizondo said. “He threw tons of punches. He definitely had some tricks up his sleeve. I believe I won that fight. I could have done a little more to make it noticeable in the judges’ eyes. But it’s OK, it’s all a learning experience. I am ready to move forward and maybe me and him one day down the line will have a rematch.”
“He has respect from me,” Miller said after the fight. “He demonstrated that he has got heart. I got hit with some good body shots.”
The June 8 fight in Reno provides Elizondo an opportunity to showcase his talents. The card is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank in association with Let’s Get It On Promotions. If the 12-round title fight and scheduled 10-rounder between light heavyweights Sullivan Barrera (22-2, 14 KOs) and Michael Seals (22-2, 16 KOs) end early, there is a chance Elizondo’s bout will be included on the ESPN broadcast.
“My first goal is to be signed to a promoter who can get me to a world title,” Elizondo said. “Because the ultimate goal is to become a world champion and to be known as an exciting fighter who came in this boxing game as pretty much nobody and showed everybody that he is is somebody.
“My goal is to become a legend one day. I know a lot of people don’t believe in me, but I believe in myself and I know that I can do it. It just takes a lot of hard work.”
— Tim Parsons