This Thursday, Golden Boy Promotions returns to Indio, CA, by way of the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino to host “Golden Boy Fight Night” on DAZN. Prior to the Pandemic, Golden Boy often hosted these club shows during the week, which was the breeding ground for fighters like Vergil Ortiz Jr, Seniesa Estrada, and others. This card is headlined by a matchup between Joel Diaz Jr. (26-2) going up against Mercito Gesta (32-3-3).
One of the fighters on this card is lightweight prospect Jousce “Tito” Gonzalez (11-0-1). You may recognize Jousce as he has been seen working the corner alongside his father Jose while for his brother Joet Gonzalez. Although you may know Joet from the wars he has fought in the ring, Jousce isn't as known, which wasn't always the case. When the two brothers were coming up, there was plenty of buzz behind Jousce Gonzalez as he plowed through his opponents. He suffered a minor knee injury which would sideline him for a little bit, but he certainly had a ton of momentum going into 2019.
After scoring a knockout victory in July (2019) against Jorge Hugo Padron (4-5), Jousce went on to face Miguel Angel Mendoza (22-17-2). Although he came out victorious by unanimous decision, Gonzalez would suffer an injury that would cost him the momentum he worked hard to gain. Jousce told NYF, “My left shoulder came out like eight times during that fight. From the beginning of the fight, when I threw a hook at my opponent, who was much shorter than me, it grazed him, and my arm felt like it slipped. I backed up, and when I moved it, it just didn't feel right. When I threw my jab, I felt it slip again, so I knew I had to adjust.”
This sounds extremely painful, but I'm sure adrenaline kicked in in the heat of the moment, and he may not have felt it as much as he did later on. Gonzalez continued, “A lot of people don't know that because I don't like to make any excuses. I still got the decision victory, but I would have preferred a knockout. My arm kept coming out, but luckily nothing tore. What the doctors told me was that the muscles around my shoulder were strong enough to keep my ligaments from tearing. The ligaments not tearing was a gift and a curse. Because the ligaments were so strong, my shoulder would pop out and pop back in, and when it did, that's when I felt the pain.”
Jousce finished the fight, but it was something that he needed to address with medical professionals to see what the issue was and how long he would have to be out. Gonzalez told NYF, “They told me the inflammation was very severe. They told me to take about two months off, and I did just that. It was around November (2019) when I started to get ready for a fight date, and then I was given one for March (2020). A week before the fight, that's when COVID hit, and all of the cards were scratched. I was sidelined for fifteen months and returned last June.”
Speaking of the fight last June, Jousce Gonzalez fought Gabriel Gutierrez (7-9), and it was the first time fighting in over twenty-two months. Although Jousce wanted the early knockout, his father told him to take his time as he needed the work due to being out of the ring for so long. How did the preparation feel for that fight with such a long layoff?
Jousce said, “To be honest, it wasn't really a camp because I stay in the gym every day. I work out at least twice a day. It is just how I carry myself, and it's normal to me. I'm always in shape and ready to go. I got a call from Roberto Diaz, and he offered me the fight in El Paso or one in July. I told him I would take the El Paso one, but it was ten days before the fight, and I told him I couldn't cut down to 135, but I could do 140. He said, ‘no problem, I'll find you a 140 fighter'. I said ok, and they flew me out and made weight, but my opponent came in at 147 (laughs). I didn't want to lose the fight over seven pounds, so I still fought him.“
Moving forward to the present and the fight on Thursday, he mentioned keeping the same team around, consisting of his Dad (Jose) as the head coach and his brothers (Joet & Jonjairo) helping with pointers and sparring. His strength and conditioning coach is Milo Chavez, who has also been there since the beginning of his career.
Gonzalez is fighting veteran Jairo Lopez (27-14), a step up in competition for the twenty-six-year Gonzalez. What are his initial thoughts on Jairo? Gonzalez said, “I know he is a tough veteran who has heart and can take a shot. I've seen him fight Marcelino Lopez, who is a strong fighter. He took some shots and gave some back, so I know he is going to come to give it his all.”
With everything that has been going on so far, Jousce knows that the expectation level will be high for him. Jousce told NYF, “135 is the weight class I'm trying to campaign at. How do I get back there? Before the injuries, I had seven fights and seven knockouts in seven rounds. A lot of those guys I fought went against top prospects and went the distance. My goal is to show everyone I am still a force to be reckoned with. I'm going to go through this guy, take him out quick and go from there. I want to fast-track things because I feel like I have lost a lot of time. I'm 100% healthy, in the best shape of my life, and ready to show it. I'm going to give the fans an exciting fight, and I don't plan on going the distance.”
My Three Cents
During my time in Southern California, I was ringside for quite a few of Jousce Gonzalez's early fights, and he was growing into a legit threat until he was sidelined due to injuries. I think there is an opportunity for him to get fans excited about his potential again, but it all starts with how he performs this Thursday night on DAZN. Tune into DAZN on Thursday to see if Jousce Gonzalez returns to everyone's radar as a prospect to watch.