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November 16, 2023; Los Angeles, CA; Diego Pacheco and Marcelo Coceres pose after the press conference for the November 18, 2023 Matchroom boxing fight card in Los Angeles, CA. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom.
Super-Middleweight stud headlines in LA for the first time at YouTube Theater – and dreams of SoFi Stadium
Diego Pacheco headlines for the third straight fight on Saturday night – but this time the stakes are raised for the Super-Middleweight stud as he welcomes Marcelo Coceres to his Los Angeles hometown as they clash at YouTube Theater, live worldwide on DAZN.
Pacheco (19-0 16 KOs) is looking to cap a brilliant 2023 with a third KO win as a bill topper, and this time in front of his hometown fans. The LA talent pummeled Jack Cullen into submission in four rounds in Liverpool, England, in April, and was at his scintillating best in his last outing in July where he blitzed the dangerous Manuel Gallegos inside four rounds in Monterrey, Mexico – ending matters with a vicious attack after flooring Gallegos in the fourth with a trademark body shot and became the first man to stop the Mexican later in the round.
The 22 year old steps up once again against the Argentine Coceres (32-5-1 18 KOs) who has previously tested Billy Joe Saunders and Edgar Berlanga. Pacheco is ready to dazzle on his doorstep and the latter is in his sights for next year.
“It’s so special to have a homecoming show,” said Pacheco. “It’s the most important fight of my career so far, it’s time for me to headline at home. I’ve headlined in the UK and in Mexico, so to be bringing everyone out to LA is surreal, I dreamt of this as a little kid and now I can’t wait to perform on Saturday and begin a while new chapter in my career. If Eddie told me I’m fighting Canelo, I feel I would give him a good fight. I want Edgar Berlanga next after this fight. I think I knock him out, cold.
“To be doing this at 22 is cool. I thought maybe I would headline in a World title fight when I was 24 or 25. This weekend it’s the YouTube Theater, hopefully down the line it will be the SoFi Stadium. It’s a five-minute drive from my mom’s house, so it’s perfect to be having my first headline show there.
“It’s been a great year for me. I unexpectedly became the main event in the UK in March, and I rose to the occasion and put on a great performance. The experience was great, fighting Cullen, he was a long fighter, but he didn’t have too much that fazed me or worried me at all, I just knew that I had to keep to the game plan, stick to my jab, stay sharp and the KO would come, and it did. I hit him with a few right hands that made him forget about the body, I went downstairs and got him out of there.
“I grew up in South Central LA. I always feel I owe this to my parents. They sacrificed a lot and believed in me before anyone else. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. I come from a low-income family so for my dad to get me to all the amateur tournaments meant a lot and made me think ‘how I am not going to give my all when they have sacrificed so much for me?'”
Pacheco’s clash with Coceres tops a stacked bill in LA where Mayerlin Rivas defends her WBA World Super-Bantamweight title against Erika Cruz.
Former World ruler Kal Yafai returns to action and faces Jonathan Rodriguez for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental Bantamweight title and Marc Castro will kick off the main card live on DAZN as he fights over ten rounds for the first time against Gonzalo Fuenzalida.
Criztec Bazaldua steps through the ropes for the third time in his career when he takes on Pedro Angel Cruz over four rounds at Lightweight and Jalan Walker faces Jorge Alberto Villegas over eight rounds at Super-Featherweight.
PACHECO VS. COCERES – FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES AND IMAGES
Pacheco takes on Argentine in first hometown headline show in LA
It’s been a busy couple of days, we’re straight off the plane from an historic press conference in London yesterday with the Day of Reckoning in Saudi Arabia on December 23 added to a packed schedule for Matchroom for the rest of 2023.
It’s been an incredible run for us over the last few weeks and it doesn’t stop now, this Saturday in Los Angeles at the YouTube Theater live on DAZN around the world, our rising young star Diego Pacheco will headline for the third time this year, this time in his hometown as he looks to cement his name in the Super-Middleweight division.
I’m extremely grateful for this moment, it’s my moment and it’s going to be a great night on Saturday. I had a great training camp, it’s been a great year and I am looking forward to ending the year on a high note, because we have big things planned for 2024.
I feel Coceres is the toughest opponent on my resume yet. He’s a great fighter, he’s been in a lot of good fights, but I feel I am a way better fighter. I think my skills and hard work will outshine him and I am super confident in the work I have put in, the training camp we had, the sparring, everything. This is the biggest fight of my life, and I can’t wait to put on a show in front of my home fans.
I’ve sparred with all the best guys at 160, 168 and 175 and they know what it is, I’m here, I am a special breed, I really feel that I have a God-given talent and with my hard work I feel that I am unstoppable. You guys have seen my fights, I’m getting better and stronger, and I am looking forward to keep doing those things against better opposition. Coceres is a great test for me on Saturday, and I just can’t wait to show everyone what I am about against someone as good as him.
I had two great fights this year in the UK and Mexico, now I get to do it here in my hometown, it’s super exciting. We’re looking to do a lot of big things in 2024 but right now we’re focused on Coceres and Saturday night. It’s going to be a great night, tune in on DAZN, Diego Pacheco’s time is here.
“It’s great to be back in LA. I feel that I have prepared well for this fight, and I am ready to give my all and show what I am made of and continue on my path.
“I am always prepared for war. Pacheco is not going to have it easy at all. I have all this experience and the willingness to win this fight, and it’s an opportunity that when it came along, I was delighted to take it on.”
Mayerlin Rivas (17-4-3 11 KOs) – defends her WBA World Super-Bantamweight title against Erika Cruz:
“I always prepare in my best way to give the best of myself. It’s my US debut and I intend on taking full advantage of this. When we talk about preparing 100 per cent, I am 1000 per cent ready for this.
“I have never said no to a challenge in my boxing career. I am prepared to go out and do what I can do. God willing, I get my hand raised on Saturday, why not unify in the future and take on the best?”
Erika Cruz (16-2 3 KOs) – challenges Mayerlin Rivas for the WBA World Super-Bantamweight title:
“I’m always ready to put on a war as the fans are used to from me. I’ve had a great camp and preparation, I’m 100 per cent and I am totally ready to take advantage of this opportunity.
“I know it’s going to be a war; two women will go to war and may the best woman win.”
Kal Yafai (27-2 15 KOs) – faces Jonathan Rodriguez for the vacant WBA Intercontinental Bantamweight title:
“This is like another World title fight for me. I’ve had seven of those, this is another and he’s standing in my way. I’m in LA for the 15th time, it’s a city I love and what a place to fight, I can’t wait to show everyone just how good I am.
“I spend a lot of time in training camp in Sheffield. I work hard, I don’t need to. I’ve got a beautiful little daughter at home, and I could just sit at home and just chill, but I love boxing and it’s my life. It’s paved an amazing life for me, and I need another World title.
“I’ll have an answer for anything he brings. I’ve fought millions of different styles, but I am the best fighter that he’s come across by a country mile so expect fireworks on Saturday night.”
Jonathan Rodriguez (16-1-1 6 KOs) – faces Kal Yafai for the vacant WBA Intercontinental Bantamweight title:
“I’m excited to be here. I want to show the world what I can do by coming here and fighting a former World champion, it’s not easy task but I’m here for it.
“I’m here to fight, not to do anything else, and I’m bringing the fight. Winning this fight on Saturday is going to do a lot for me.”
Marc Castro (10-0 7 KOs) – takes on Gonzalo Fuenzalida over ten rounds at Lightweight:
“I’m glad to be back and ready to perform in front of all my supporters. I have a lot of people coming from my hometown of Fresno, and I’m looking forward to it.
“I have the talent and these fights are won in the gym, long before the lights turn on, and you will see that on Saturday.”
Gonzalo Fuenzalida (12-2 3 KOs) – takes on Marc Castro over ten rounds at Lightweight:
“It’s a great opportunity for me, I must say thank you for it. I’m going to give everything in the ring and show what I can do, I will give it all in this fight and hopefully put on a great show for the fans.”
Jalan Walker (11-0-1 9 KOs) – takes on Jorge Villegas over eight rounds at Jr. Lightweight:
“I’m happy to be here to showcase my skills, to fight in front of my family and friends. I’m here to make my team proud and I will put on a show.
“The goal is to be active next year and get six fights. I’d fight every month if I have to, I just want to get back into the ring.”
Jorge Villegas (14-1 13 KOs) – takes on Jalan Walker over eight rounds at Jr. Lightweight:
“Like all good Mexicans I am ready to give everything in the ring and I am ready to show that in this big opportunity on Saturday night. It’s the opportunity of my lifetime and I do not intend on missing out and not taking advantage of it.”
Criztec Bazaldua (2-0) – takes on Pedro Angel Cruz over four rounds at Super-Lightweight:
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to fight in my hometown. It’s going to be a great night of boxing and it’s a blessing to be here. It’s been one of my best training camps so far, I’m well prepared for this fight.
“I think I have gained a lot of value from my first two fights and the little break I’ve had. It has helped me a lot, it’s going to help me pick my shots and sit down on my punches. I feel I’m progressing with each fight and I’m ready to show the world that this Saturday.”
Pedro Angel Cruz (3-3 2 KOs) – takes on Criztec Bazaldua over four rounds at Super-Lightweight:
“I had the best training camp, straight to work so I feel super ready to put on a great show and surprise everybody.
“My last fight it was a horrible decision, I don’t know how it went to the other guy, but you just have to keep moving, I’ve got a big opportunity now, so I am ready to take advantage of it.
“He’s a tough fighter, I respect everyone I go up against, but I’ve gotten into the best shape of my life, so I am ready.”