By Mark Eisner: Subriel Matias (19-1, 19 KOs) wore down and stopped previously unbeaten #1 Jeremias Ponce (30-1, 20 KOs) by a fifth round stoppage to claim the vacant IBF light welterweight title on Saturday night at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Matias, 31, knocked Ponce down with 14 seconds left in the fifth round. After the round was over, Ponce’s corner pulled him out of the fight. Ponce had been showing signs of fatigue and since the third round, so it wasn’t a surprise that his trainer pulled him rather than letting him come out for the sixth.
- Welterweight contender Jamal James (28-2, 12 KOs) boxed his way to a 10 round unanimous decision over Argentinian Alberto Palmetto (18-2, 13 KOs). The scores were 98-92, 99-91, and 98-92. Both fighters were hurt in the ninth round. Overall, James had too much ability for the 32-year-old Palmetto, but he didn’t show anything that will scare the other top contenders, Jaron Ennis, and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
- Light welterweight Elvis Rodriguez (14-1-1, 12 KOs) picked up his third consecutive victory in defeating the hard-hitting Joseph Adorno (17-2-2, 14 KOs) by a 10 round majority decision. Adorno was knocked down twice in the contest by Rodriguez, once in the seventh and in the tenth. The referee let Rodriguez get away with hitting Adorno when he was down in the seventh. The scores were 95-93, 97-71, and 94-94. Rodriguez lost to Kenneth Simms three fights ago, but he’s looked good since.
- Welterweight Ve Shawn Owens (14-3, 12 KOs) used his nonstop pressure to defeat an overly defensive Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (18-2, 10 KOs) by a 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 98-92, 99-91, and 97-93. The unwillingness of Kudratillo to stand his ground obviously influenced the judges’ scoring of the fight because Owens was constantly coming forward, throwing punches. Although Kudratillo landed the harder shots, it was the pressure from Owens that made the difference. The defeat for Kudratillo is his second in a row, as he lost his previous bout against Cody Crowley in December 2021. For Owens, he got back on the winning track with the victory after losing his last contest against Alberto Puello in December 2021.
- In a big surprise, welterweight Willie Jones (9-2, 6 KOs) stopped Derrick Jackson (10-1, 5 KOs) in a shocking first round knockout. The lanky 6’1″ Jones caught the 20-year-old Jackson with a left hook to flatten him. Referee Mark Nelson then stepped in and halted the fight. The time of the stoppage was at 1:40 of round one.
- Undefeated light welterweight Mikkel Spencer (3-0, 2 KOs) knocked out Margarito Hernandez (3-5-1, 0 KOs) in the first round. The time of the stoppage was at 2:18.
Preview: Matias has the power and the work rate to win this fight potentially, but it won’t be easy because Ponce is a ferocious body puncher. This is a 50-50 fight. That is nearly impossible to pick a winner, and it won’t be surprising if the contest ends in a draw.
It’s fair to say that Ponce is considerably better than the fighters Matias has fought his entire career, and he’s had a tough time beating the mostly C+-level fighters he’s faced.
How to watch Matias – Ponce?
Tonight’s Matias – Ponce fight will be shown live on Showtime Championship Boxing in a card that begins at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
“My father made two world champions—Sergio, Victor Palma, and then Juan Martin ‘Latigo’ Coggi. Jeremias Ponce is already a world champion. He was crowned champion of the IBO. I don’t know if you saw the fight; he won,” said Ponce’s trainer Alberto Zacarias to Showtime Boxing.
“What happened in England? They were so sure that [Lewis] Ritson would beat Ponce, but he went and won,” Zacarias continued. “So, why wouldn’t he win now? What is the obstacle?”
“Now, I’m focused on Subriel Matias,” said Jeremias Ponce. “He is a strong fighter who works on many punch combinations and always goes out to win.”
“Subriel is very tough, a winner,” said Zacarias. “He gets in the ring only to win.”
“When I get in the ring, I’ll devise anything and do anything to be victorious,” said Subriel Matias. “God works in mysterious ways, and I prevailed [almost] every time I was tested.
“2012 was grueling but crucial to who I am today. On August 10th, two guys shot at me, 30 or 40 shots total,” Matias said. “Two bullets hit me. Then, two months later, I got locked up in Puerto Rico’s federal prison, and I was released 19 months later.”
Where is Matias – Ponce?
The battle between once between #2 IBF ranked Subriel Matias (18-1, 18 KOs) and #1 IBF Jeremias Ponce (30-0, 20 KOs) will take place at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ponce is an unrelenting body puncher, who is going to be coming after Matias all night long with his shots downstairs. Many boxing fans have never heard of the Argentinian Ponce, because his fights have taken place mostly in Argentina.
This will be his debut in the United States, and he’s got an opportunity to become a star overnight if he defeats Matias. Ponce can become a big name in the same way that Marcos Maidana did when he defeated Victor Ortiz many years ago.
Ponce pulled off an upset two years ago when he traveled to the UK and defeated favorite Lewis Ritson by a tenth round knockout in his hometown of Newcastle.
In the tenth round, Ponce knocked Ritson down three times before the contest was finally halted.
What was interesting about the Ritson-Ponce fight is that Ritson’s corner threw in the towel after the first knockdown in the tenth, but surprisingly the referee threw the towel out of the ring and let the action continue.
Ponce then dropped Ritson twice more with body shots before the fight was finally halted. That stoppage was an impressive performance by Ponce, making him known.
Nevertheless, the oddsmakers are still picking the 31-year-old Matias to win, considering he’s fought better opposition, and he’s proven himself by beating quality guys in wars.
Matias’ best wins have come against these fighters:
- Petros Ananyan
- Batyrzhan Jukembayev
- Malik Hawkins
- Petros Ananyan
- Maxim Dadashev
Matias’ 11th round stoppage win over the Dadashev in July 2019 was a tragic one, as the Russian fighter passed away not long afterward. The death didn’t stop Matias from coming back later that year to knockout Jonathan Jose Eniz in the fifth round.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Matias deals with the body punching from Ponce tonight because I mentioned previously, he’s been fighting headhunters for the most part in his career, and this will be his first fight against a guy that focuses exclusively in throwing to the midsection.
If Matias can win this fight, it’ll open the door for him to fight WBC 140-lb champion Regis Prograis and the winner of the clash between WBO champ Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez in a unification fight. Potentially, Matias could be a unified champion by the end of 2023.
“One challenge after the next. It strengthened me mentally, and I doubt I’ll ever break. I know whoever challenges me better be well prepared,” said Matias.
“I am not going on holiday; I’m going there to win,” said Jeremias Ponce about his intention to beat Matias tonight at The Armory in Minneapolis. “He is a very good boxer, but I’m going to win this fight.
“He sure fights. He is assiduous, and that will make this a very interesting fight,” said Matias about Ponce. “But let there be no mistake that when God points at you, no one can stop you.”
“On February 25th, I will be the [IBF light welterweight] world champion,” said Ponce.
“On the 25th, you will see why I’m here,” said Matias.
In tonight’s headliner on Showtime, the entertaining all-out brawler Subriel Matias (18-1, 18 KOs) takes on unbeaten Argentinian Jeremias Ponce (30-0, 20 KOs) in a 12 round bout for the vacant IBF light welterweight title at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.