Joseph Diaz Jr.'s South El Monte-to-London journey went through Ukraine's Pavlo Ishchenko Saturday in the first match of the Olympic boxing competition.
Diaz Jr. won the bantamweight bout in the 56-kilogram weight class, 19-9.
Diaz Jr. moves on to the round of 16. He will compete Wednesday in a much-anticipated rematch against Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez.
The 19-year-old faced Alvarez in a quarterfinal match, losing 19-10, at the 2011 World Championships. Alvarez would go on to win gold at the World Championships and the Pan American Games.
“If he (Valdez) qualifies and goes to the Games he’s going to want his revenge so I’m going to be ready for him," Diaz Jr. said before the London Games. "He shocked me; I didn’t know he knew how to use his range like that.
"I’ll be prepared for him in London and put that pressure on him.”
Diaz Jr., 19, is boxing in his first Olympics.