In the ShoBox telecast opener on Friday, November 16, 2018, undefeated Ukrainian prospect Arnold Khegai (14-0-1, 9 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact with a hotly contested unanimous decision win over New Brunswick, N.J. native Jorge Diaz (19-6-1, 10 KOs).
After the fight, Diaz announced his retirement from boxing.
The judges scored the fight 79-72, 77-74 twice.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) November 17, 2018
Khegai, known for his aggressive come-forward style, stayed true to his reputation by pressing the action early. Despite suffering a cut over his left eye after an accidental clash of heads in the fourth round, Khegai was more accurate in all phases while Diaz’s activity made the fight competitive throughout the first five rounds. Khegai dazed Diaz in the fifth with a big left hook and followed it up by scoring the only knockdown of the fight in the sixth, landing a combination that forced Diaz to a knee. Tied at 122 total connects after seven rounds, Khegai clinched the fight with a huge eighth and final round where he landed 31 power punches to just 13 for Diaz.
“I’m very excited to get the win against a very uncomfortable fighter,” said Khegai through an interpreter. “He was tough and I had to stick to my game plan. He was doing different things and leaning in with his head. My main idea was to win the fight and I tried to get the knockout.
“I think I can fight a top 15 fighter next time and someday win a world title. Of course, it’s important to look good on SHOWTIME, but it’s even more important to have a good fight in America and to get the win. That’s what is most important.”
Diaz showed toughness and grit throughout the fight. “I am done. I am retiring,” he said. “I have so much more to do and accomplish in life. I gave it my all in rounds seven and eight. I got caught with a body shot in the last round and that’s when he jumped on me. I think he won because of the last round.”
Tonight’s tripleheader was promoted by Victory Promotions in association with Hard Hitting Promotions.
The full telecast will replay on Monday, November 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME and will be available on SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and SHOWTIME on DEMAND®.
Barry Tompkins called the action from ringside with boxing analyst and historian Steve Farhood and former world champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer was Gordon Hall with Chuck McKean producing and Rick Phillips directing.