Heavy-handed pressure-fighter Subriel Matias lived up to his billing as a dark horse in the talent laden junior welterweight division when he bludgeoned Batyrzhan Jukembayev to defeat at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Saturday.
Both men had their moments in an action-packed contest, but it was Matias (17-1, 17 knockouts) who scored first blood, dropping the previously unbeaten Jukembayev (18-1, 14 KOs) in the fourth round.
“It was important because I made a statement,” Matias told The Ring through Fernando Gaztambide. “I throw punches in bunches, but I’ve got power too. Don’t sleep on me.”
The 29-year-old Puerto Rican continued his assault on Jukembayev and almost paid a high price for his relentless aggression when he was tagged and momentarily hurt in the closing stages of the seventh round.
“I love to fight, I really felt good when I was hit in that round,” Matias said defiantly. “When I get hit, I come back stronger, non-stop action. That’s why I trained so hard. I’m a brawler and nothing can change that. Once again, my respect to my opponent.”
After riding the storm, Matias got back to breaking down the 30-year-old Kazakh before trainer Manny Robles pulled his fighter out at the conclusion of the eighth round.
“I was expecting a war, and a war it was,” Matias said. “I knew I was stronger, but he has good tools. The fans are happy and that’s what’s really matters.
“Thank you God for this great opportunity and that both [of us] are in good health. I want to thank all the fans, they’re always there for me no matter the outcome. I really appreciated my promoter, Juan Orengo, for everything and my trainer, Freddy Trinidad – this victory is yours.”
Matias says he will follow his promoter’s instruction on what is next, though he hopes for a shot at the IBF 140-pound title.
“My next target is whatever my promoter says but it should be the winner between [Jeremias] Ponce and [Lewis] Ritson. They are fighting another IBF eliminator for the No. 1 slot. I just won the No. 2 slot by beating Jukembayev,” stated Matias. “Maybe the winner between Ponce and Ritson fights me for the world title. It depends if [undisputed junior welterweight champion] Josh Taylor moves up or not. I’m ready for whomever.”
Orengo, of Fresh Productions Boxing, predicted that his fighter would win inside the distance and was happy to be proven right.
“The fight was great, as expected,” Orengo said gleefully. “I knew my fighter was stronger and could really handle Jukembayev’s power. I’m happy for the results and support.
“Now we have to wait for the Ponce-Ritson winner in June 12.”
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