New Faces: Subriel Matias
Hometown: Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Weight class: Junior Welterweight
Height: 5-foot-8-inches (176 cm)
Amateur record: 80-20 (22 knockouts)
Turned pro: 2015
Pro record: 9-0 (9 KOs)
Trainers: Anthony Otero
Manager: Anthony Otero and Pedro Cruz
Promoter: Fresh Productions Boxing
Best night of pro career and why: Matias is most happy with a quick stoppage over a more experienced countryman in just his fourth outing.
“My victory over Jeffrey Fontanez,” Matias told THE RING through his handler Fernando Gaztambide. “Fans thought my promoter and I were crazy.”
Worst night of pro career and why: Matias has won all nine fights inside the distance and no opponent has got past the fourth round. However, for reasons outside of boxing, he found himself distracted against a former amateur standout, although he still won decisively.
“Thank God nothing comes to my mind, but If I have a to choose I’d say versus Patrick Lopez,” he said. “We were ready to fight very early but the fight ended up at 1:00 a.m. and that creates rush.”
Next fight: The Puerto Rican power-puncher continues to move quickly, stepping up against Mexico’s Adrian Estrella (28-1, 24 KOs) on Saturday at the Parque de Pelota Pedro “Perucho” Cepeda, Catano.
“I think Estrella will be in trouble,” Matias said confidently. “I’m sure on what I got. He has a lot to prove to his people. If he wants to impress, he better come ready so we can have a long night because I do not underestimate him. That’s the first mistake that a boxer can do and each act has consequences.”
Estrella, 26, has been a professional since 2010, and all of his fights have taken place in Mexico. He fought at 130 pounds before stepping up to lightweight following a surprise loss to Eden Sonsona. Estrella has won his last six, with four of those victories coming inside the distance.
Gaztambide admits Estrella is another step up in class but one he expects his man to make successfully.
“He’s ready, you’ll see,” said his handler. “He has defeated former world title contender Daulis Prescott, former Olympian Patrick Lopez, former prospect Jeffrey Fontanez and power-puncher Joaquim Carneiro. Estrella is his toughest test, and we hope he wins in great fashion.”
The Puerto Rican-Mexico rivalry will add extra spice to what is already an exciting fight.
Why he’s a prospect: Before turning professional, Matias won the Isaac Barrientos tournament, winning every fight by KO. He also won silver at the Cheo Aponte tournament.
He had 100 amateur bouts and faced current WBA junior lightweight titleholder Alberto Machado, junior middleweight prospect Nicklaus Flax (5-1, 4 KOs), junior welterweight prospect José ‘Chino’ López (10-0, 8 KOs) and featherweight Jean Carlos Rivera (13-0, 8 KOs) in the unpaid ranks.
While many prospects turn pro in their late teens-early 20s, Matias elected to wait until he was 24 years old.
“I started a bit late in boxing because I was studying and working,” he explained. “I did not have time, but my coach Anthony Otero continued to motivate me because he always saw something good in me. With his help, along with the help of my promoter, Juan Orengo, and co-manager, Pedro Cruz, (they) have helped me to improve as a boxer and as a person.”
Since making the transition, Matias has honed his skills in Puerto Rico by facing fighters with different styles and different levels of experience.
He has sparred unbeaten welterweight Derrieck Cuevas, lightweight prospect Nestor Bravo, junior lightweight Alfredo Santiago and perennial contender Jayson Velez.
The young prospect is constantly pushing himself and feels this is his biggest asset.
“I’m very demanding of myself,” Matias admitted. “The fans have not yet seen my best. I have several qualities – good power and speed – but my trainer may know a little bit more [laughs]. I need to be good in every aspect to be a world champion.”
Gaztambide agrees with the fighter that speed and power are solid attributes and added, “He uses a good variety of speed in his combinations to confuse his opponents.”
Why he’s a suspect: Matias was a good amateur but not one who had experience internationally. He’s been something of a dark horse so far, fighting exclusively in the Caribbean.
As a professional, his level of competition has been very impressive considering he wasn’t an elite amateur. He’s managed to continue his career arc, and the Estrella fight will be interesting.
Matias doesn’t single out a particular area preferring to focus on all aspects of his game.
“I need to improve in everything,” he said “I have not developed my best yet. I’m working on all the areas to improve in every fight.”
Gaztambide feels Matias needs more experience before he can reach his potential: “He needs to go to the distance so I can tell you more. He has been very dominant so far.”
Storylines: Matias was born and grew up in the small city of Fajardo, in the east of Puerto Rico – it’s most famous boxing son is former world champion John John Molina.
“Where I have lived my life has always been high and lows,” Matias said of his hometown. “Good moments and not so good. Thank God we are a family that lives there for more than 20 years. We are the same, residing in the Maternillo neighborhood of Fajardo. I was always playing sports.”
He first encountered boxing when he was 12 years old.
“I was always fighting in school until I started in boxing which changed my way of thinking and behaving,” said Matias. “I can say that boxing changed my life completely.”
His favorite boxer is countryman and Hall-of-Famer Felix Trinidad.
Feb. 17 – Daulis Prescott – TKO 3
Nov. 18 – Patrick Lopez – TKO 2
Aug. 5 – Luis Alberto Pelayo – TKO 2
June 24 – Abrahan Peralta – RTD 2
March 25 – Joaquim Carneiro – TKO 3
Dec. 10 – Jeffrey Fontanez – TKO 2
Sept. 9 – Luis Rodriguez – TKO 4
July 16 – Ramon Melendez – TKO 2
Dec. 19 – Juan Rojas Rodriguez – TKO 1
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