Local favorite Juan Diaz scored a close split decision in 12 rounds over Australia's Michael Katsidis for the IBO world lightweight title Saturday night.

Two judges scored it 115-113 and 116-112 for Diaz while the third had Katsidis winning 115-113.

"I'm feeling great," Diaz said. "I'm real excited to be back on top. I was concerned when they read the first score and I think it was my jab that won the fight for me. I hurt him and I busted him up."

Diaz (34-1), known as the "Baby Bull" of Houston, and Katsidis (23-2) each suffered their first career defeats last March while at the same time, losing their lightweight title belts against Nate Campbell and Joel Cassamayor respectively.

"This time I did what my corner told me to do," Diaz said. "Katsidis is a tough customer. He's hard and very powerful. However, my skills gave me the victory.

"I proved I just had a bad night against Nate Campbell."

Katsidis had been concerned before the fight about taking Diaz on in his hometown.

"Well, you win some and you lose some but I think I won that fight," Katsidis said. "But that's kind of what I was expecting coming into his hometown."

Both fighters needed a win to regain top contender status for future title shots.

Diaz seemed to get new life in the sixth round, landing a flurry of punches. Katsidis came back strong in the ninth and 10th but twice had to have his glove checked for loose tape the referee felt was dangerous.

Katsidis came on strong in the 11th and mistakenly raised both gloves after that round, at first thinking the match was over. He had to have his glove checked for tape again starting the 12th.

In the highlight of the undercard, 2000 Olympic silver medalist Rocky Juarez (28-4) of Houston won by technical knockout over Argentina's Jorge Barrios (47-4-1) in a junior lightweight match.

Barrios fought Juarez even through the first eight rounds, then had two points taken away by the referee in the ninth round for low blows.

With the crowd chanting "Rock-y, Rock-y," Juarez took over in the 10th round. He continued late in the 11th round, connecting on repeated powerful combinations before Barrios went down and was declared finished in 2:55 of the round.

Officials said Barrios would have surgery on a vein in his lip that was bleeding profusely when the fight was stopped.

Two-time former world champion Jesus "El Matador" Chavez (43-4) of Austin scored a technical knockout of Andres Ledesma (14-10-1) in the ninth round of their 10-round lightweight match.

Chavez knocked Ledesma down in the seventh, then continued the onslaught through the eighth and ninth before it was stopped with 42 seconds to go after a second knockdown.

Oscar De La Hoya's company, Golden Boy Promotions, promoted the fights, which were televised live by HBO.

It was the first ever boxing card held at the Toyota Center and attracted 13,477.

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