Junior welterweight Subriel Matias on Saturday night got what he envisioned as he systematically broke down Petros Ananyan over nine punishing rounds at the Borgota Event Center in Atlantic City, N.J. What made the co-main event leading into the Mark Magsayo upset win ending the long-stagnant title reign of Gary Russell Jr. notable for me was Matias's style in every fight.
Smashmouth, in your face, physical violence. Not only is this what makes for great TV-friendly fights, but it also is a perfect reason Matias is a name to look out for in the 140-pound division.
The toe-to-toe action was from front of the opening bell to the final knockdown in the final round, and if you've seen a Matias fight, this is his style. One of Matias's most significant moves in this last fight was finding a home with his left early on Ananyan and kept creating off of it.
“My goal was to get him out of there. I had to prove in this fight that I was the better man. I'm thankful for the opportunity to face a warrior like Ananyan. If you don't take him seriously, he'll beat you,” Matias said after the fight.
The “he'll beat you” Matias is referring to is what got this fight, to begin with, as Matias's lone defeat (18-1, 18 KOs) came at the hands of Ananyan (16-3-2, 7 KO) back on the under undercard of Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury 2 back in 2020 (That fight card was a 9-hour event, no joke). The first fight was a complete 180 from the punishment Ananyan was being handed in this grudge match.
“Two years ago, Ananyan knocked me off my path to the world title. I've been waiting for the fight ever since then. This is what I trained to do,” Matias stated.
“I'm not just a hard-hitter, but the way that I fight is like cutting down a tree. Just keep hitting them. I think I can improve my power but let's see what happens with time,” Matias noted.
Since the loss, those trees consisted of Ananyan, Malik Hawkins, and Batyrzhan Jukembayev, all of which fell into Matias's heavy hands. Credit the resilience of Ananyan for despite his face looking like one that was worn out from the hands of Matias until the ninth round, he was still willing to stand toe to toe with what he was giving out. So much, the seventh round of this fight is easily the front runner early for “Round of The Year.”
That ninth round would've been a tenth had referee Mary Glover just let this continue before the ringside physician Nina Radcliff called an end to this fight as Ananyan looked to be out on the stool he was sitting on. This was moments before he was knocked down and stood upright enough not to be waived off by the referee to end the round. I always hate when refs waive off fights when fighters seem okay to continue. While Ananyan was able to sell, he was good to the ref; the ringside physician saw what we all saw on Showtime Saturday night; a man who was beaten and done for the night.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) January 23, 2022
Josh Taylor is currently the undisputed champion at 140, and Matias wanted to take some time off before finding out who's next in the ring. After this contest, rightfully so, but if you didn't know of the Puerto Rican until this past weekend, let this be the wake-up call before he finds the next piece of human lumber to chop down.
You can follow Marquis on Twitter @weaksauceradio.