Matias stops Ponce to win vacant IBF title

Puerto Rico has another world champion after Saturday night.

Subriel Matias withstood some good offense from Jeremias Ponce to score a knockdown before the end of the fifth round and Ponce’s corner would not allow their fighter to come out for the sixth round, giving Matias the victory and he is now the IBF super lightweight champion. Matias is now 19-1, with this being his 19th win by knockout. Ponce falls to 30-1.

The first round had lots of action as both Matias and Ponce threw multiple shots on each other, Matias landed early to the body and Ponce responding with combination hooks to the body and to the head. Ponce seemed to have the upper hand by the end of the round with a series of left uppercuts landing on Matias. In the next round the fighters spent the majority of it in close quarters as they wanted to wear each other down. The momentum of the fight shifted towards Matias when he landed a series of left hooks before the second round concluded.

In the third round Ponce had more success landing to the body but Matias kept coming forward and threw combinations. Matias picked up his offensive output in this round as he ended up throwing over 100 punches according to CompuBox statistics. That activity continued in the following round as he landed a number of punches on the inside, capped off with a combination that halted Ponce before they went to their corners. Even though Ponce came out in the fifth round landing uppercuts while Matias was on the ropes, Matias took those shots and came back with power punches of his own. With less than 30 seconds left in the round Matias landed a number of power shots that threw Ponce off balance and then down to the canvas. After the round ended, the trainers in Ponce’s corner decided that he should not continue.

Matias was full of joy after the fight knowing that he is the new IBF super lightweight champion. “I’m on cloud nine right now,” said Matias. “I don’t think I’ve woken up from this dream. Maybe I can tell you how it feels tomorrow, but right now, it’s a dream come true. I wanted to work him from the first round on, because I knew he wouldn’t have the same power as me as the fight went on.”

Subriel Matias lands a left hook on Jeremias Ponce during their bout in Minneapolis. Photo by Esther Lin of Showtime.

He pointed out that he was calm in the ring over the course of the fight and that was a factor in how he attacked Ponce as the fight went on.

“I thought that I was patient in the first four rounds, so I came out with a different approach and mindset in the fifth. Once I saw how his corner reacted. I saw that [Ponce] was hurt.”

Ponce was devastated that he was on the losing end for the first time in his career, as he felt that he was in the bout until the knockdown occurred.

“I thought it was an even fight, but one punch can change everything and that’s what happened,” Ponce said after the bout. “Subriel is a tough, strong fighter and I knew what he was capable of.”

“My team knows me, and they made the decision that they had to make. It hurts, but the most important thing is that I’m healthy.”

Now that Matias is a world champion, he wants to prove that he is the best fighter in the division. He wasted little time as to who he wants to fight next – WBC super lightweight champion Regis Prograis.

“Prograis, I’m coming for you,” he said. “I promise that I’m coming to hurt you. Prograis likes to talk the talk, but I have that same mentality. Let’s see who prevails. I want him to see that there are people crazier than him in this sport.”

Cover photo by Esther Lin of Showtime


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