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Pro boxer Joseph Diaz accused of attempted coercion, enticement of minor in lawsuit

An unidentified plaintiff has filed a lawsuit against professional boxer Joseph "JoJo" Diaz, accusing the former IBF super featherweight champion of attempting to coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

The lawsuit, which was filed by "Jane Doe" in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Diaz, 29, shared "sexually graphic material" with the plaintiff via the social app Snapchat in September 2020. The plaintiff states she was 17 at the time.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff submitted a police report on the alleged incident one year later, in September 2021. No criminal charges resulted from the investigation. The lawsuit also states Diaz formerly dated the plaintiff's older sister, and that his father told the plaintiff's family Diaz sent the photo "mistakenly" after a night of drinking.

The lawsuit states the plaintiff has suffered "emotional distress and discomfort" as a result of the alleged actions, and is seeking liquidated damages in the amount of $150,000.

"These frivolous allegations on behalf of an anonymous source have been brought by the attorney for Joseph Diaz's former manager, Ralph Heredia, who Mr. Diaz is suing in federal court for stealing his money and violating his trust," Diaz's attorney, James Greeley of VGC LLP, told ESPN. "Mr. Heredia and his counsel appear to be making a desperate attempt to gain leverage in that lawsuit by fabricating claims by a 'Jane Doe' as part of an ongoing effort to defame Mr. Diaz and derail his career. They will be made to answer for their actions. It should go without saying that Mr. Diaz staunchly denies these claims."

Diaz parted ways with his longtime manager, Ralph Heredia, last year following an arbitration hearing before the California State Athletic Commission.

"This information was brought to me, I initially advised the young lady to bring this matter to law enforcement for resolution," attorney Eric Montalvo of The Federal Practice Group told ESPN. "Unfortunately, even though Diaz admitted that it was his photo and sent from his phone, law enforcement decided not to further investigate even though they were made aware of additional victims.

"The family came back to me despondent, saying this person needs to be held accountable because of what he's doing to young women. I investigated the case, I confirmed that on two occasions that Diaz confirmed the photo was his.

"There's no dispute that it's Mr. Diaz in the photo and was sent to the individual in question. This is not made up, she's an actual victim, law enforcement is aware of who this is. As a former prosecutor and victim advocate, she asked for help and I'm giving her the help that she requested. It has nothing to do with the other lawsuits."

A since-deleted tweet from Diaz's verified Twitter account stated, "Ooooooooo they desperate 4 moneeeeeyyy."

Diaz (32-2-1, 15 KOs) was born in South El Monte, California. He is expected to return to the ring this summer, although he does not have an official fight lined up. He most recently challenged Devin Haney for the WBC lightweight title in December and lost via unanimous decision. Prior to that, he was scheduled to face Ryan Garcia in November, but Garcia withdrew with an injured hand.

ESPN's Mike Coppinger contributed to this report.