El Monte Teen Hooks Spot on Olympic Boxing Team

The 19-year-old El Monte native is competing in headed to London for his first Olympic games.

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El Monte native Joseph Pedroza Diaz Jr., 19, will compete in his first Olympic games in London after beating out Mexico’s Beijing representative and 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Oscar Valdez.
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Since he started boxing at a young age, the teenager has been coached by his father, Joseph Diaz Sr., a local El Monte truck driver for the Mayflower Company.
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Joseph Diaz Jr. (red) lands a punch on O'Shanique Foster (blue) during the 2012 U.S. Men's Boxing Olympic Team Trials at the on Aug. 5, 2011, in Mobile, Alabama.
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Diaz Jr., who will compete in the bantanweight class (56 kg/123 lbs), says he doesn't stray far from his strict protein diet -- sneaking in a coke or glass of juice as an occasional snack.
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The youngest member of the U.S. men's Olympic boxing team, Joseph Diaz Jr. says he hopes the sport is his family's ticket out of the poverty-stricken area of El Monte.
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Joseph Diaz Jr. credits his family for helping him clinch the spot on the U.S. Olympic team. "At first I didn’t have much money and financially I was messing up. If I turned pro I could have started winning some money, but they said just wait it out, just wait it out, have faith, you can be an Olympian, you can make it to London. And I did," he says.
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Joseph Diaz, Jr. (red) defeated O'Shanique Foster (blue) in a decision during the 2012 U.S. Men's Boxing Olympic Team Trials on Aug. 5, 2011, in Mobile, Alabama.
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