Liam Paro stunned Subriel Matias via unanimous decision to score the IBF junior welterweight title in his Puerto Rico rival’s hometown on Saturday. 

The savvy Australian Paro (25-0, 15 KOs) stood up to the knockout artist Matias’ (20-2, 20 KOs) powerful punch for 12 rounds to become a world champion in his first title fight. 

“I feel that I am on top of the world. It's the best feeling. I f***ing did it,” said Paro. “This is what dreams are made of. It's been a long, hard road. It's going to be an unreal chapter in the book when it's all said and done. I’m the man of the division now. I've been saying it's fucking ‘Paro Time’ and I keep proving it. 

“I knew it was going to be hard and I was going to face adversity going into the lion's den. He was a tremendous champion. I knew they were going to try to do everything to keep that belt in Puerto Rico but I dug deep, took his power, and proved I was the best.”

Paro will now have a target on his back. The division’s champions include Devin Haney (WBC), Teofimo Lopez Jr. (WBO) and Isaac Cruz (WBA). Top-notch contenders like Jose Ramirez, Jack Catterall, Regis Prograis, Alberto Puello, Richardson Hitchins, Gary Antuanne Russell, Rolando Romero, Sandor Martin, Dalton Smith, and former undisputed champion Josh Taylor round out the rest of the weight class. 

“I will fight anyone,” said Paro. “I have the biggest heart. Bring on the rest.” 

Matias, meanwhile, must climb back up the contender ladder in order to get a crack at the crown once more. 

“I didn't overlook him at all. He just did his work very well,” said Matias. “It was humiliating to lose at home. You almost prefer to fight away from home. 

“Excuses are for losers so I am not going to make excuses … If [Matchroom Boxing head] Eddie Hearn tells me I need to go Australia for the rematch, what I will do is knock out Liam Paro.”

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