Subriel Matias could land a long overdue homecoming for his next title defense. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
BoxingScene.com has learned that advanced talks are in place for Matias to enter a voluntary IBF junior welterweight title defense versus Australia’s Liam Paro. The bout is not quite finalized but is tentatively targeted to take place in early summer at a location to be determined in Matias’ native Puerto Rico.
Sources with intimate knowledge of talks have informed Boxing Scene that Paro (24-0, 15KOs) unconditionally signed for what would be his first major title fight. Matias has tentatively agreed to terms. However there remains a lingering issue of whether his team—headed by manager and local promoter Juan Orengo’s Fresh Productions—is willing to commit to a promotional contract with Matchroom Boxing, who currently promotes Paro.
El Nuevo Dia was the first to report that Matias-Paro was in play.
Should the bout move forward, it will mark the second title defense for Matias (20-1, 20KOs) and his fifth unbeaten opponent in a span of his last six fights. The exception during that period is Petros Ananyan, whom Matias stopped after nine rounds in their January 2022 rematch to avenge his lone career defeat from nearly two years prior.
Matias’ ten-round points loss to Ananyan marked the first of six consecutive fights under an agreement with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC). He was on the free agent market last year following his fifth-round stoppage of Jeremias Ponce to win the IBF 140-pound title last February. There were serious talks of Matias joining Matchroom at the time but he was persuaded to remain with PBC for one more fight.
It resulted in a nine-month gap between fights and ended with Matias forcing mandatory challenger Shohjahon Ergashev to quit on his stool after five rounds last November 25 in Las Vegas.
Paro was previously on track to challenge then-WBC titlist Regis Prograis but was forced to withdraw due to a slight tear in his left Achilles tendon one month out from their June 24 date in New Orleans. It was the second straight fight he was forced to cancel due to injury; a facial fracture during a training camp gone horribly wrong saw the Brisbane native pulled from a planned clash with Robbie Davies last March 11 in Liverpool.
The run of bad luck left Paro out of the ring since an October 2022 first-round knockout of countryman Brock Jarvis in South Brisbane. He returned last December 9, where he impressed in a sixth-round knockout of Montana Love on the Devin Haney-Regis Prograis DAZN Pay-Per-View in San Francisco.
Matias has not fought on his native island since a November 2019 knockout win over Jonathan Jose Eniz in his Fajardo hometown.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox