"I was going to be a lawyer," said Diaz, who has called North Bergen home for the last four years. "I went to SUNY-Albany and majored in Spanish and political science. But I had no money for law school."
So Diaz got a job working for Merrill Lynch in the World Financial Center.
"But I didn't like that," Diaz said. "I got a little lazy and was eating a lot of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. And it showed."
At the same time, Diaz' mother was just starting to attend karate classes in Manhattan.
"I figured that the time had come for me to lose the weight I put on, so I went to the gym with my mother," Diaz said.
Little did she know that the fateful journey to the gym for a karate class would eventually take Diaz to Madison Square Garden and a berth in the prestigious Golden Gloves Boxing Championships.
Once Diaz went to her first karate class, she said she was instantly hooked.
"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," Diaz said. "I was so hooked that I wanted to make karate my career. So I went to school to become an instructor."
After becoming a qualified karate instructor, Diaz was first sent to work at a Tiger Schulman Karate School in Stamford, Conn., where she remained for several years before she eventually got the opportunity to open her own Tiger Schulman branch on Washington Street in Hoboken earlier this year.
"We've had a nice turnout so far, about 160 students," Diaz said of her Hoboken location. "It's a nice town and the people are coming out."
After opening the new location, Diaz was watching professional women's boxing champion Christy Martin and became inspired.
"I had done some kickboxing matches before, because kicking is a major part of karate," Diaz said. "But there's also punching in karate. So I was interested to see what I could do in boxing."
Diaz bounced the idea off her husband, Eric Correa. Not a lot of husbands would have accepted the fact that his wife was all set to be a competitive boxer, but Correa supported his wife's decision.
"He puts up with my training, my crankiness," Diaz said. "I give him a lot of love and gratitude to have the patience he has with me. There really is no bad karma between us. He's very supportive of everything I do."
Pinnacle of boxing
With no boxing experience at all, Diaz hit the gym with the intentions of becoming a competitive boxer, with one goal in mind - the pinnacle of amateur boxing, namely the Golden Gloves tournament in New York.
"It was the first time I had ever boxed," said the 31-year-old Diaz. "Tiger Schulman thought that I could do it and thought I could do well, so he encouraged me and actually helped to teach me. So I figured that I would try to box in the Golden Gloves."
Not only did Diaz do well in her first attempt at the ring, but she managed to win five matches to make it to the finals of the 132-pound women's novice division.
"It was amazing fighting in Madison Square Garden, the same place where I went to see Roy Jones, Jr. fight," Diaz said. "I couldn't believe I was in the same place."
Approximately 1,200 Tiger Schulman karate students from the New York metropolitan area went to the Garden to cheer on one of their own against the two-time defending champion Dominga Reiga from the Bronx.
"Hearing those students cheering me on really meant a lot to me," Diaz said. "All the support from the students was amazing."
However, it wasn't enough for Diaz to come away with a victory in the finals, dropping a three-round decision to the reigning champ.
"I held my own," Diaz said. "I fought all three rounds and fought hard. But she had more experience than me and it showed. I have to get more experience. There's no quit in karate and I wasn't about to quit. In the third round, I wished it was kickboxing, because I would have kicked her in the head. But I learned a lot from it."
Diaz' boxing record now stands at 7-1. She's hooked on this sport as well.
"I got to the finals of the Golden Gloves in my first tournament," Diaz said. "That makes me want to do it again. I don't have to always win. But I just want to keep trying. I like the sport and I like the challenge."
Diaz said that she hopes to compete in the national Golden Gloves tournament in Chicago in August.
"There are more and more women getting involved in the sport," Diaz said. "Boxing has become something I just enjoy doing. Hopefully, I can get to the finals again sometime and next time, I want to win it all."
Diaz knows that the time will come soon where she will have to give up both boxing and karate instructing. "I said I wanted to do this and go as far as I could," Diaz said. "But eventually, I want to settle down and have some kids. I can do this now and settle down later."
Diaz was asked if she ever had pictured herself as an aspiring boxer.
"I never thought I would be a karate instructor, never mind a boxer," Diaz said. "I never thought I would be doing any of this. It wasn't something I planned on doing. But I'm having a great time and I enjoy it, so I'm going to keep going."