Gesta back in the ring vs. Diaz today

Gesta back in the ring vs. Diaz today

AFTER almost a year out of the ring, two-time world title challenger Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta made his much-awaited ring return on Saturday, March 18, 2023 (PH time), against former world champion Joseph Diaz at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California.

The 35-year-old Gesta weighed-in at 137.2 pounds, while Diaz tipped the scales at 139.4 pounds for their 12-round non-title light welterweight contest.

The Gesta vs. Diaz bout was elevated to the main event after Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez was seven pounds overweight and his fight with Gabriel Rosado was scrapped.

Gesta hasn’t fought for close to a year now. He last saw action in April of last year, wherein he beat Joel Diaz Jr. by unanimous decision in Indio, California.

Gesta, who was once regarded as the Philippines’ next star, has not quite lived up to his potential and failed two bids for a world title. He challenged then International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez and lost by a lopsided unanimous decision in 2012 in Las Vegas. Gesta’s second chance at becoming a world champion came six years later, in 2018. He, however, was outclassed by veteran Jorge Linarea by unanimous decision in a World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight fight in Inglewood, California.

Gesta has had a rollercoaster career and has just fought sparingly in the last few years. He fought twice in 2019, didn’t fight during the Covid-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2021 and only fought once last year.

A win over Diaz could be Gesta’s ticket to a future world title shot.

Like Gesta, the 30-year-old Diaz is also out for redemption.

Diaz has had a recent slump in his career, losing his last two bouts. He lost to current lineal lightweight champion Devin Haney in a World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight title fight in 2021 by unanimous decision. It was followed by another unanimous decision defeat in the hands of William Zepeda last year.

Diaz first fought for a world title in 2018. He beat Jesus Rojas by unanimous decision in their WBA featherweight fight but was unable to win the belt after failing to make weight. He had a second opportunity two year later and dethroned Tevin Farmer to win the IBF super featherweight title by unanimous decision.

Diaz moved up to lightweight in 2021 and won the interim WBC lightweight strap after a unanimous decision win over Javier Fortuna.

Gesta, a native of Mandaue City, is 33-3-3 with 17 knockouts, while Diaz is 32-3-1 with 15 knockouts. (EKA)


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