Subriel Matias reaches new heights ahead of title defence against Shohjahon Ergashev

Striving for new heights, Subriel Matias has taken to the altitude of Jiquipilco, Mexico in preparation for the first defence of his IBF super lightweight title.

The Puerto Rican fights the undefeated Uzbek Shohjahon Ergashev in Las Vegas on November 25 later this month, on the undercard of David Benavidez-Demetrius Andrade.

His division’s most avoided champion, Matias prevailed inside five rounds against Jeremias Ponce in February to capture his title, and since then has expressed his desire to unify.

“As long as I have my health, I believe I’m going to give a lot of headaches in the 140 [division],” the 31-year-old told ProBox TV. “First, I have a mandatory – we hope in God to deal with him – then I would like to unify with any of the champions in the division, to continue making my name grow”

The heavy-handed Matias moved his training camp to the hills of Jiquipilco, known for the benefits that come with training at 3,500m above seal level. William “El Camarón” Zepeda is another who has trained there.

“My first time here was last year – as soon I got off the plane, it was difficult to breathe,” Matias said. “Getting to sleep the first two weeks was complicated for me, but thank God after 2 months more or less, I adapted.

“The champions that have come out of here, [I give] my admiration to them. It’s not easy. Here we are grinding more. Punch volume, physical conditioning, anaerobic conditioning – I believe in my next fight the results will be seen.”

The great Juan Manuel Marquez, one of Matias’ idols, approves. “It’s a phenomenal place to train, and to get in great physical condition,” he told ProBox TV. “I did it in Toluca [Mexico] back then.”

“Being Puerto Rican, I believe I have adopted a Mexican style, warrior style,” Matias continued. “I’ve got balls, and I like my opponent [to] stand in front of me, and I can position myself to punch.

“From how [Ergashev, also 31] looks in the videos, he looks strong, strong throwing punches. We know, as sportsmen, there are two ways of being strong. Taking on punches, and throwing punches. He hasn’t been in the position of taking punishment. I know that will happen when he faces me. Let’s see what he’s made of.

“I know it’s going to be a fierce fight until it’s over. It’s going to be a knockout. From either side, I lean towards myself that I’m going to pull it off, so I think it’s going to be interesting to see how long it lasts.”