Mercito Gesta greets fans after his victory in Indio, California. GOLDEN BOY BOXING VIDEO

Mercito Gesta greets fans after his victory in Indio, California. GOLDEN BOY BOXING VIDEO

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino lightweight boxer Mercito Gesta took down Joel Diaz Jr. via unanimous decision in their 10-round fight on Friday (Manila time) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

After missing action for two years, Gesta made a rousing return, flooring the hometown bet twice in the first round and getting the best of his foe in the final round to earn 96-92, 96-92, and 95-93 from the judges in the main event of the Golden Boy Fight Night.

It was the first victory for the 34-year-old southpaw since his June 2018 triumph over American Robert Manzanarez for the vacant World Boxing Organization North American Boxing Organization (WBO NABO) lightweight title at the same venue.

Gesta improved his record to 33-3-3 with 17 knockouts, bouncing back from a draw with Carlos Morales in his November 2019 fight and a knockout loss to Juan Antonio Rodriguez March of the same year.

Gesta used a straight left to knock down Diaz in the final minute of the first round before the American recovered and pushed the Filipino to his limits, especially in the third and fourth rounds.

Diaz suffered a cut in the fifth round after an accidental headbutt but he was able to continue the fight.

The 30-year-old Diaz slid to 26-3, his first defeat since his knockout loss to Cristian Rafael Coria last February 2019.


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