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Liam Paro adds his name to Australia’s best by “proving everyone wrong” vs Subriel Matias

Liam Paro poses for a photo after winning the fight against Subriel Matias at the Coliseo Juan Aubín Cruz Abreu in Manati, Puerto Rico – Photo by Melina Pizano/Game Room.

Winning on the road is never easy.

That’s what made Liam Paro win the IBF junior welterweight title against Subriel Matias at the weekend.

Facing one of the most dangerous boxers in boxing, Paro not only went through the heavy hands of Puerto Rican native Matias, he had to contend with a referee who seemed intent on forcing him to not focus on the fight. on Saturday night.

But it’s not just what happens in the ring that can make things difficult for a boxer away from home. There aren’t many familiar faces that are often seen at pre-war events. Sights and smells are different. Food is different. Even small things, like the taste of water or the songs of foreign birds, can subtly disrupt a boxer’s preparation.

The bookies had Paro listed as under +600 heading into the fight and with good reason. In his eight-year professional career the 28-year-old Australian southpaw had never fought anyone close to Matias’ skill, and certainly no one with his strength. The Puerto Rican crowd, who came out in large numbers to fill the Coliseo Juan Aubin Cruz Abreu in Manati for the player’s first fight in his country in almost five years, aimed to make the visitor as uncomfortable as possible.

The unusual nature did nothing for Paro. He gasped as Matias, decked out in yellow and gray trunks and matching yellow gloves, made his long walk to the ring.

Paro, dressed in a black and pink ensemble, shut up the noise and fought an incredibly controlled fight. Matias, in fact, started slowly, while Paro kept moving his hands to collect points. The challenger showed variety in his attack, staring at Matias’ head before landing a heavy shot to the body. He punched long when he could, traded inside when it was necessary, and then lashed out when the situation was difficult.

Coach Alfie Di Carlo had a calming influence in the corner, despite his colorful language. His tactical instructions to Paro were straightforward and he took the intervention of local referee Luis Pabon out of the equation, keeping his striker focused on the job at hand. When things got rocky in the sixth, it was Di Carlo who steadied the ship. And while Pabon pinned Paro a point in seventh place with a phantom violation, no one on the team solved the problem.

It was quality stuff from the corners, with assistant coach Justin Frost and cutter Stephen Edwards providing two more pairs of safe hands.

The consensus going into the fight was that Matias, rated No. 3 by The Ring at 140-pounds, would come in strong in the middle rounds. He was expected to beat Paro to the point where he conceded defeat, as he had with five of his previous opponents. But Paro proved to be made of stronger stuff. He weathered the storm, made some subtle changes and came home soaking wet, doing his best in the championship round.

Paro made sure the crowd was nothing. He took referee Pabon out of the equation as well, giving him no reason to punish him further in the fight. And when the final bell rang, only the judges could rob him of victory.

Thankfully, they didn’t.

The judges scored it 116-111 and 115-112 twice, meaning Paro was undefeated in four rounds of their 12-round contest.

Paro was happy. Matias was depressed. After congratulating the new striker, the 32-year-old former champion quickly left the ring. He did not dispute the result.

Liam Paro (left) goes down to Subriel Matias (right) during their fight at the Coliseo Juan Aubín Cruz Abreu in Manati, Puerto Rico – Photo by Amanda Westcott/Game Room

It was Paro’s perfect performance, announcing his arrival on the world stage.

“I’ve been through hell and back to life,” said Paro (25-0, 15 KOs) in the ring after the fight. “I keep proving everyone wrong. I just took the biggest test and I came out on top.

“I knew it would be difficult. Matias is an excellent host.

“That’s my toughest fight so far. You’re tough, man. He hits hard. He got 20 knockouts for a reason.

“I knew there would be hostility for entering the lions’ den. But I always said it would be a better chapter in the book when it was all said and done.

“I have shown that I am the best here. I just released the boogeyman. I am a man now. I am the captain. Come and get it.”

Another man who would like to come and take it is former champion Matias, The Ring understands that he did not have a rematch clause in his contract.

“I don’t feel in a position to say what I want, but if [promoter] Eddie Hearn says, ‘You should go to Australia and fight Liam Paro again’, I’m going to knock Liam Paro out and do something I can’t do tonight,” said Matias (20-2, 20 KOs) in the post-fight media.

Boxing away from home is nothing new for Aussie fighters. Almost all of the antipodeans’ world title challenges take place on foreign soil. Jimmy Carruthers went to South Africa to knock out world bantamweight champion Vic Toweel in 1952 and took over The Ring. In 1968 Lionel Rose followed suit, lifting The Ring, WBC and WBA bantamweight titles in the main Fighting Harada tournament in Japan. Johnny Famechon won The Ring and WBC featherweight championship from Jose Legra in England in 1969.

This trend continued over the years. Rocky Mattioli won the WBC junior middleweight title over Eckhard Dagge in Germany in 1977, Jeff Harding won the WBC light heavyweight title over Dennis Andries in America in 1989 and Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu had to win his first world title over IBF junior. Welterweight champion Jake Rodriguez in 1995.

Flyweight Vic Darchinyan won Irene Pacheco’s IBF US title in 2004. Gairy St Clair defeated Malcolm Klassen for the IBF super featherweight title in South Africa in 2006. Daniel Geale and Sam Soliman both went to Germany to win. IBF middleweight titles against Sebastian Silvester and Felix Sturm in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

Subriel Matias (right) blocks a Liam Paro (left) attack during their match at Coliseo Juan Aubín Cruz Abreu in Manati, Puerto Rico – Photo by Amanda Westcott/The Game Room

Recently, George Kambosos Jr stunned the boxing world with his victory over Teofimo Lopez in The Ring lightweight championship and the IBF/WBA/WBO titles in America in 2021, the same country Jason Moloney will move to two years later to become the WBO bantamweight champion. by defeating Vincent Astrolabio.

Among these wins are also stories of fortune, with names such as Paul Ferreri, Hector Thompson, Tony Mundine, Troy Waters, Hussein Hussein, Nedal Hussein, Paul Briggs and Michael Katsidis joining the long list of world title contenders who came up short. in their opponents’ backyard.

Victory on the road is not easy to come by.

Australia’s military has long had a reputation of being “strong but limited” and in many cases, that perception has been well deserved. But as recent history shows, the boxers of this vast but sparsely populated continent don’t just want to make it to the big dance, they want to take home the queen.

So where does Paro Matias’ victory rank among the biggest Aussie away wins?

That, gentle reader, is for you to decide.

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