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Subriel Matias stops Jeremias Ponce after five rounds to win title

Subriel Matias is no longer just a knockout artist. He’s also a champion.

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican stopped Jeremias Ponce after five rounds to win the vacant IBF 140-pound title — his first major belt — Saturday night at The Armory in Minneapolis.

Matias (19-1, 19 KOs) has stopped everyone he has fought, including Petros Ananyan in a rematch. Ananyan had outpointed him in their first fight.

The bout on Saturday was fought at a torrid pace and was close for four-plus rounds, making it look like a potential Fight of the Year candidate early.

The tall, lanky Ponce (30-1, 20 KOs) came out at the opening bell like a demon, throwing punches nonstop as Matias did all he could fend off the Argentine.

However, by Round 2, Matias began firing back at a similar pace in what evolved into a toe-to-toe brawl that was even on the scorecards after four rounds.

The problem for Ponce is that Matias’ punches were doing more damage than his, which evidently wore him down as the end of Round 5 was approaching.

With around 20 seconds remaining in the frame, Matias, in high gear, landed a flurry of punches capped with a hard body shot that put Ponce onto the canvas.

Ponce was able to get up and make his way back to his corner. He seemed to be fit to continue but his trainer decided the fighter had taken enough punishment and had the referee stop the fight.

Matias said afterward that he expected to stop Ponce in the middle of the fight.

“We worked really hard 10 months, really hard in the gym. I came here to win,” he said through a translator.

Ponce was asked afterward why his handlers ended the fight.

“My corner knows me better than me,” he said through a translator. “It’s better to take precaution a minute to early than a minute to late. But I wanted to continue.”

He went on: “I know Subriel Matias is a tough fighter, a strong fighter. He did hit me with that shot. I went down and lost stability a little bit. I did recuperate but just a little too late.”

Matias said going into the fight that he would like to fight WBC beltholder Regis Prograis next, which would be a bigger challenge for the new champ. But he demonstrated for the 19th time on Saturday that he’s a threat to anyone.

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie