Liam Paro poses for a photo after winning a fight against Subriel Matias at Coliseo Juan Aubín Cruz Abreu in Manati, Puerto Rico. Mandatory Credit: (Photo by Melina Pizano/Matchroom.)
Australian upsets Matias with stunning win in champs Puerto Rico homecoming 
Liam Paro says he’s the new top dog at 140lbs after a punch-perfect performance popped Subriel Matias’ Puerto Rico homecoming on Saturday night, after ripping the IBF World Junior-Welterweight title from the champion and becoming an overnight star in Australia, live on DAZN.
Paro had vowed to shock the world in the build-up to his first World title fight and stuck to his word, taking the fight to the champion, who has often started slowly, stalking his prey – but Paro boxed his plan to a tee in the first half of the fight.
As the midway point approached, Matias threatened to add Paro to his lengthy list of KO victims as he looked to have broken through at the end of the sixth, and Paro suffered a further setback in the next round with a points deduction for holding and hitting.
The Australian remain composed though and would not be denied, continuing to manage the fight with his skills, and never being afraid to dig in and fight if he had to and crucially finished strongly, taking the final three rounds on two of the judges’ cards, and shedding tears of joy as his hand was raised with cards of 115-112 twice and 116-111 fulfilling his World title dream and a promise to his late friend.
“I made a promise to my mate Regan Grieve, who passed away that I would do this, and I am a man of my word,” said Paro. “To all the people that doubted me, it’s Paro time! I am the man in the 140lb division now.
“I’ve been to hell and back in my life and been through harder fights than that mentally. I have always said that I will get carried out of there if I have to, but we both go home safe to our families tonight. I have self-belief, I know the hard work I put in, I’m always the hardest worker in the room. I keep proving everyone wrong, I took the biggest test out there and came out on top. 
“We knew it was going to be hard, Matias is a tremendous champion, and it was my hardest fight. Thanks to Puerto Rico, we had a great time here, we’d love to come back, and I hope I won some fans here.
“He hits hard, he’s got 20 KOs for a reason, but I’m a true warrior, I’ve got the heart of a lion and I showed that. The crowd was good, I knew it was going to be hostile coming into his backyard, I always said doing it this way was going to make it a better chapter for the book and that’s going to be a highlight. I want to thank everyone that’s stuck with me throughout the injuries and setbacks, I’ve been a road warrior, now it’s time to bring the big fights back to Queensland, let’s get them over there. 
“I’ve got the target on my back, but I want everyone. I’ve had 25 tests and got 25 wins. I just took out the boogeyman, now I’m the captain, so come and get it.”
“You saw the result of a great performance, not necessarily being overlooked,” said Hearn. “You just expected Subriel to come on strong at the end, but Liam had an answer for him at every junction. He stood and fought with him, we said he’d have to get his respect, he did that. He pushed him back, he bonded off the back foot, it was an absolute masterclass. I had it so wide, with three or four rounds to go I had Subriel needing a knockout, it wasn’t even close. 
“To come to the backyard of the guy that no-one wanted to fight, that’s a massive win for Liam Paro and for Australian boxing. No-one wanted to come here but he did it, he’s the new World champion, and it’s an incredible win and performance. 
“It’s time to bring him home to Australia, I’d love to see him defend it in Australia, it’s a massive win and he deserves it, he rolled the dice, and it was a hell of a performance. We know that the Australian government support big time boxing, but it’s got to be World championship boxing, it’s got to be big names. Liam Paro became a big name tonight, you’ve got Ryan Garcia, Pitbull Cruz, Teofimo Lopez, Richardson Hitchins; it’s an incredible night for Liam and Australian boxing.”
“I don’t believe I overlooked him at all,” said Matias. “I just think he did his work very well. It’s kind of humiliating to lose at home, you would almost prefer to fight away from home and have everything against you, but I did not overlook him.
“I wouldn’t change anything, all things are planned and written in life, I’m nobody to be able to change that. I’ll be honest, excuses are for losers, so I am not going to be making excuses.
“When I suffered my first defeat a few years ago, I always believed that what I did in a fight, I would have to no matter what win inside the distance. You saw when the bell went for the start of the 12th round, anything could happen, and what happened was Liam Paro became World champion.
“To be honest, I don’t really have a fight plan when I go into it. At the end I have my corner that can give me advice, but they don’t tend to give me advice because they know I will do anything to win anyway. At the end of the day, it’s me who goes into that ring and is fighting.
“I don’t feel that I am in any position to decide what I want to do right now. But if Eddie Hearn says, ‘You need to go to Australia and have a rematch with Liam Paro’, what I’ll do is I will knock out Liam Paro and do something I was not able to do on the night.
“My corner can guide me, but they are conscious to the fact that I am quite a volatile fighter at times. Sometimes I might receive shots and then I will up the pace myself. They are my eyes outside the ring, but I am an old head and I do what I believe will work, and on this occasion, it didn’t work. 
“There is no point in going through and saying what I did well or badly because we’ve seen the result, why would I talk about ifs buts and maybes, what happened has happened.
“I felt at times that I was getting through because I hit him and he smiled at me, and when a fighter does that it’s a sign that ‘yeah, you got me’.
“You know the beef that Regis Prograis and I have between us. If you are looking at fighting someone like Teofimo Lopez, this is a guy that is on my list already, so I would love to fight him at home.”
In the co-main event of the evening, Yankiel Rivera moved a step closer to World title action with a dominant win over Victor Sandoval. Rivera (6-0 2 KOs) forced the experienced Mexican to touchdown in the second round, and controlled action for the full ten rounds, getting the nod 98-91, 98-91, 97-92 on the cards and keeping the WBC and WBA Continental Americas and WBO Intercontinental Flyweight titles in Puerto Rico.
Angel Fierro tested the waters at 140lbs against Puerto Rico’s Alfredo Santiago – but it was Santiago who thrilled his hometown sold-out crowd with a stunning win over the Mexican.
Santiago’s (15-2 6 KOs) reach and slick style proved problematic for Fierro (22-2-2 17 KOs) from the off and delivered an incredible closing pair of rounds.
Fierro needed to go for the KO, but it was Santiago who threw the kitchen sink at the Mexican in the ninth round, encouraged by his foe to throw and he needed no second invitation, tagging Fierro cleanly on multiple occasions, but Fierro’s chin held up to the barrage and to bring the fans to their feet.
The tenth and final round started in the same fashion, with Fierro shipping clean shots and waving Santiago on, and then showboating for the fevered fans as he skipped away from Fierro’s advances.
Santiago had his hand raised for a career-best win on the cards, 98-92, 98-92, 99-91, with Fierro struggling with an Achilles injury as the cards were read out.
There were victories for Matchroom debutants Stephanie Piniero and William Ortiz on the night. Piniero (7-0 2 KOs) pressed the action from the off against Diana Tapia, landed the cleaner work throughout and the Puerto Rican tried to close the show inside the distance by pouring on the pressure at the opening to the final round, but Tapia gamely kept her at bay, and Piniero landed the WBA Continental Americas and WBO International Welterweight titles on the cards, 100-90, 100-90, 99-91. Ortiz (1-0) floored Carlo’s Mitzael twice with blistering left-hands on his way to a points win in the DAZN opener.
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