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Subriel Matias-Liam Paro IBF Title Fight Set, June 15 In Manati, Puerto Rico

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Subriel Matias (left). Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Subriel Matias gets his long awaited homecoming as a reigning titlist.

A deal was reached for the Boricua knockout artist to defend his IBF 140-pound title versus Australia’s Liam Paro. The bout will headline a June 15 DAZN show from Coliseo Juan Aubín Cruz Abreu in Manatí, Puerto Rico.

Event promoters Matchroom Boxing and Fresh Productions confirmed the show on Wednesday.

“I am so excited to be bringing Subriel back home for his second World title defense,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “It’s an honor for Matchroom to be heading to Puerto Rico for the first time and there’s no doubt that Subriel and Liam will produce an epic battle to mark the occasion.”

Matias (20-1, 20 knockouts), No. 3 at 140, will defend his IBF junior welterweight title for the second time. Both his title win and first defense ended with his unbeaten opponents forced to quit after five rounds. Matias battered Argentina’s Jeremias Ponce in their vacant IBF title fight last Feb. 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The same treatment was applied to mandatory challenger Shohjahon Ergashev last November 25 in Las Vegas.

Both wins came on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) shows, with whom he signed in 2020. The deal has since expired, though Matias remained with career-long promoter Juan Orengo of Fresh Productions.

The two entered a co-promotional deal with Matchroom, with the promise of a homecoming. Matias’ first title fight on his home island takes place roughly 90 minutes from his hometown of Fajardo, P.R.

“I am super excited to be able to be in front of my people defending the title that we had such a hard time getting,” said Matías. “The mentality will always be the same and in front of my people I don’t even have to say it, they know me. The Pride of Maternillo.”

Added Orengo: “Puerto Rico is preparing for a world-class event with the expected second defense of champion Subriel Matias. We expect a night full of action and excitement for boxing fans.”

Paro (24-0, 15 KOs) initially agreed to all terms earlier this year. The deal was contingent upon Matias signing with Matchroom. However, Paro’s team opted out of the matchup over a compensation discrepancy which was since resolved.

Matias and Matchroom spent the next month in talks with nearly every ranked IBF 140-pound contender. They eventually made their way back to Paro, who is all in for his first career title fight.

“I’ve waited my whole life for this opportunity,” said Paro. “Fighter’s fight and I can’t wait to fight the boogeyman in his backyard.”

Matias has knocked out every opponent he has faced as a pro. His lone fight to go the distance was in a Feb. 2020 points loss to Petros Ananyan in Las Vegas. Matias avenged his lone career defeat with a ninth-round stoppage in their Jan. 2021 rematch in Uncasville, Connecticut. The feat was part of his current five-fight win and knockout streak, all inside of nine rounds.

Brisbane’s Paro was in line to challenge then-WBC 140-pound titlist Regis Prograis (29-2, 24 KOs), No. 5 at 140, last June 17 in New Orleans. Those plans fell through when he suffered an Achilles tendon tear, his second straight fight canceled due to injury. Paro previously suffered a facial fracture while in training to face Robbie Davies last March 11 in Liverpool.

An actual fight came last December 9. Paro knocked out Montana Love in the sixth round on the Devin Haney-Regis Prograis DAZN Pay-Per-View undercard from San Francisco. The win was his first since an Oct. 2022 1st round knockout of undefeated countryman Brock Jarvis in South Brisbane.

Matias has not fought on his native island since a November 2019 knockout win over Jonathan Jose Eniz in his Fajardo hometown. The promise of a homecoming was a key part in Fresh Productions agreeing to bring Matchroom into the fold.

Wednesday’s announcement confirmed the first-ever major title fight held in the coastal city. It is located less than 20 minutes from Barceloneta, the birth town of the late Hall of Fame legend Sixto Escobar, Puerto Rico’s first world champion.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for The Ring and vice president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

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