Two hard-hitting sluggers will throw down when Subriel Matias and Jeremias Ponce face off for the vacant 140-pound world title Saturday night in a PBC on SHOWTIME main event.
This Saturday, February 25, from The Armory in Minneapolis, top super lightweight contenders battle for the vacant IBF 140-pound World Title when the all-action Subriel Matias (18-1, 18 KOs) meets undefeated Argentine Jeremias Ponce (30-0, 20 KOs) atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME Championship Boxing telecast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) will feature the return of Minneapolis hometown favorite Jamal “Shango” James as he takes on 2016 Argentine Olympian Alberto Palmetta in a 10-round welterweight co-main event. Opening up the telecast, exciting contender Elvis Rodriguez meets Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno in a 10-round super lightweight contest.
Subriel Matias has quickly built a reputation for himself as one of the more entertaining fighters in the sport. With an all-action, come-forward style, the native of Fajardo, Puerto Rico has earned his spot near the top of the super lightweight division, putting together a record of 18-1, with all 18 victories coming by way of KO/TKO.
In his most recent outing, he battered, ground down, and eventually stopped Petros Ananyan in the ninth round to brutally avenge the lone blemish of his career. Prior to that, Matias scored back-to-back stoppage victories over undefeated contenders Malik Hawkins and Batyrzhan Jukembayev.
With a win this Saturday, Matias hopes to join the ranks of Puerto Rican world champions in the long and storied history of Boricua boxing.
Jeremias Ponce, fighting mostly in Germany and in his native Argentina, has flown under the radar in a 140 lb. division full of high-profile names. In his biggest fight to date, however, he traveled to the UK to batter and stop top contender Lewis Ritson, dropping the Brit three times en route to a dominant tenth-round TKO.
In his most recent contests, the native of Buenos Aires put in stellar performances in stopping Achiko Odikadze in three rounds and Michel Marcano in two.
Beating Matias in his US debut this Saturday will take Ponce out of the shadows and put him square in the spotlight of the super lightweight division.
The winner of Saturday’s contest becomes the IBF Super Lightweight Champion and also takes a spot among the elite of an increasingly deep and lucrative 140-pound class.
Matias is all aggression, all the time. Always advancing and throwing fists, the 30-year-old is a formidable offensive presence and a nightmare of an opponent.
The tenacious Puerto Rican’s attack strategy is a simple one-- get inside and bang away. Although everything he throws is with bad intent, he’s more of a grind ‘em down pressure fighter than a one-punch KO artist. Of his last six KO/TKO victories, all have come from the sixth round on.
He throws short, sharp punches and is equally strong with both hands. He mixes upstairs and downstairs attacks well. His jab is short and compact, impacting more like a power punch than a range finder.
Defense is an afterthought with Matias and he does get hit often. His constant pressing forward, though, keeps opposition on their heels and unable to launch full-on offensive attacks.
“ I can finally realize my dream and become world champion. ” Super Lightweight Contender - Subriel Matias
Ponce is a tall, lanky fighter who can fight well from a distance, but is also effective on the inside. His destruction of Lewis Ritson, especially, is testament to the fact that the Argentine can bang away up close.
Despite a somewhat clumsy approach inside, the 26-year-old is effective with digging uppercuts to the head and body. His whipping rights and lefts are also potent weapons. Like Matias, he’s a come-forward fighter who likes to let his hands go.
Also like Matias, Ponce’s defense is an afterthought. Although he has a somewhat more refined defensive skill set than his opponent this Saturday, he’s still limited in that area. He mostly relies on his ability to pick off shots with his gloves and an offense-is-the-best-defense mindset.
“I’m very grateful. I can finally realize my dream and become world champion. I’ve been away from my family for 10 months in Mexico, just preparing and getting ready until the time came to step into the ring. Now that it’s in my sight, there’s nothing that is going to stand in my way.”
“I promise that I’m coming into this fight prepared to do whatever it takes to reach my dream and become a world champion. In my mind, this is my fight, and that title is already mine. Anyone who’s standing in my way is going to see why I’m undefeated and why I’ve earned this position that I’m in.”
There’s only one way this fight can play out-- all-out war.
Matias only knows one way to fight and Ponce, although he has the ability to maybe box from a distance, will happily oblige his opponent’s toe-to-toe challenge. Forget the nearly 6-foot tall Argentine’s edge in reach and range over the 5-foot-8 Puerto Rican, this one will be contested up close.
Both fighters have shown gritty persistence in working over opposition and both have also shown gaping holes in their defense.
So, Matias-Ponce will come down to who’s the best at a phone booth war of attrition and who can take the most punishment over the long haul.
Matias has been in the ring with the overall tougher level of opposition and has, arguably, shown the more refined offensive skills. Admittedly, though, that may not mean all that much once the fists start flying.
Saturday’s IBF title bout will be one of those battles where all you can do is sit back and wait to see who’s the last man standing.
For a closer look at Matias vs Ponce, check out our fight night page.