The boogeyman has been busted. 

Puerto Rican tour de force Subriel Matias fell flat in his homecoming and Matchroom Boxing debut against the upset-minded Australian Liam Paro on Saturday night.

After forcing corner stoppages against his previous five opponents, Matias (20-2, 20 KOs) couldn’t muster much against Paro (25-0, 15 KOs) and lost his IBF junior welterweight title by unanimous decision via scores of 115-112, 115-112, and 116-111.

The always pressure-minded Matias was timid to come out of the gates, allowing Paro to predominantly box off his back foot to pile on the points despite being docked a point for rabbit punching. 

“It was quite remarkable – a shock victory,” Matchroom head Eddie Hearn said after the fight. 

“I can't believe what I saw. It's no secret that Subriel Matias was a massive favorite. We all know that Liam Paro is a world-class fighter but to come to Puerto Rico and dethrone the champion was a massive ask. Not many expected that tonight. He just got better and better. Subriel started very slow and you just expected him to catch up and hunt down Liam Paro. But Liam moved and boxed in spades. I had him as the clear winner. It was an incredible performance that will go down as the upset and performance of the year. This will completely change Liam Paro's life.” 

Paro said he was left “speechless” while basking in the win following his first world title fight. 

Paro picked up right where he left off from his momentum-building, career-best knockout win against Montana Love in December. Matias, 32, had stopped every opponent during his nine-year career coming into the fight. 

“[Paro] didn't capitulate. He stood his ground and threw back. Liam was getting his respect,” said Hearn. “I struggled to give Matias more than three rounds in the whole fight. Liam was outstanding and closed the fight outstandingly well. 

“You should never take away from the performance of Liam Paro. Sometimes we are quick to say Matias underperformed. What about Paro over-performing? Liam won a wide decision against one of the most feared men in the sport.”

Hearn said a rematch clause was not in the contract, so the 28-year-old southpaw Paro can now navigate his career straight into the thick of 140 pounds during a time when the division’s top class appears beatable on any given night. 

The weight class features the likes of Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez Jr., Isaac Cruz, Jose Ramirez, Jack Catterall, Regis Prograis, Alberto Puello, Gary Antuanne Rusell, Rolando “Rolly” Romero, Sandor Martin, Dalton Smith, and former undisputed champion Josh Taylor.

Paro’s mandatory challenger for the IBF title is Matchroom teammate Richardson Hitchins. 

“It just completely blows the division apart. Liam Paro is now one of the main men now at 140 pounds,” said Hearn. “[Matchroom] wanted to go to Australia for a big fight for quite some time and now we have the ability to do it. He deserves that homecoming. We can bring a big name to Australia from the division.” 

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at] or via