IBF super-lightweight champion Subriel Matias says that there is one rival whom he wants to face more than any other, and that’s WBC title holder Regis Prograis.
The reason, says Matias, is that he is “a man of his word. And I want to keep my promise that I’m going to send Regis Prograis to the hospital.”
If that seems an extreme statement from a man who knows what it is like to have an opponent die – Maxim Dadashev, whom Matias bludgeoned to a one-sided defeat in July 2019, died of brain injuries four days later – the Puerto Rican slugger is unrepentant and says it is Prograis who began the trash talk.
“It’s personal,” he insisted in an interview with ProBoxTV at the IBF Convention in Chicago earlier this month. “Regis Prograis underestimated me. He said he likes to hurt and punish his opponents. I'm going to be the exception. I'm going to be the punisher in this fight.”
Matias (19-1, 19 KOs) won the title with a stoppage of Jeremias Ponce in Minneapolis in February, after Ponce’s corner withdrew him from the contest after the fifth round.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said of winning the belt.
Although Ponce began the fight well, Matias soon took over and he was not, he said, surprised at the sudden and early conclusion to the contest.
“Me and my trainer were both aware [Ponce was struggling] and we knew that the fight would not go past six rounds,” he said. “We trained for that, so it was not really shocking to us.”
Matias is expecting to be back in the ring late July or early August, in the United States and most likely on Showtime.