Liam Paro defeats Subriel Matias by decision in Puerto Rico

Liam Paro traveled on the road to score a major upset Saturday night in Manati, Puerto Rico, with a unanimous decision victory over Subriel Matias to capture the IBF junior welterweight title.

Australian Paro (24-0, 15 KO) won with scores of 115-112, 116-111 and 115-112 in a fight in Matias’ home country. Paro was deducted a point in round 7 for whiplashes.

“We knew it was going to be difficult,” Paro said. “…I continue to prove everyone wrong. He’s tough. He has 20 knockouts for a reason. …I knew I was entering the lions’ den.”

Paro, 28, was surprisingly able to fend off Matias’ relentless pressure. The southpaw held his own under duress and unleashed 1-2 combinations that thwarted the champion.

Paro often boxed on the back foot. He showed the strength and power to fend off Matias and earn his respect.

“It was a real masterclass. … It wasn’t even close,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, which promotes Paro and Matias. “…Coming to Puerto Rico, the backyard of the guy no one wanted to fight, it’s a massive win for Liam Paro, a massive win for Australian boxing.”

The road victory was the second in a row for Paro, who scored a career-best victory in December in San Francisco with a sixth-round knockout over American Montana Love.

Now, Paro scored a much bigger victory with a decision victory over Matias, ESPN’s No. 2 boxer at 140 pounds. That performance spoiled Matias’ return to Puerto Rico, his first fight on the island since November 2019.

Known as one of boxing’s best action fighters, Matias (20-1, 20 KOs) has already stopped all 20 of his opponents. (Petros Ananyan dominated Matias in 2020 but was killed by TKO in the 9th round of the 2022 rematch.)

Matias, 32, was making the second defense of the title he won in February 2023 with a fifth-round TKO of Jeremias Ponce. Matias stopped Shohjahon Ergashev in the sixth round of their November fight in his first defense.

But now he is looking for a rematch to regain his title.

“I’m on top of the world right now. Honestly, I’m speechless,” Paro said. “…I’ve been a road warrior. Let’s bring the big fights back to Queensland.”

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