Subriel Matias views this weekend as the first step on the path to a 2022 he will always remember in and out of the ring.

At stake on fight night for the unbeaten knockout artist is the chance to avenge his lone defeat. Matias is set for his rematch with Petros Ananyan, which airs live as part of a Showtime-televised tripleheader Saturday evening from Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. The bout comes just ahead of another milestone in the Puerto Rican’s career, and a reminder of what he has sacrificed to get to this point.

“Being away from my kids was the hardest part of this training camp,” Matias told “I have two small daughters and another on the way, due right after this fight. I can’t wait to be back with my family again.”

Matias (17-1, 17KOs) will be reunited with his partner and daughters soon enough, where he will once again prepare for being a father to a newborn child. His third and youngest is due to arrive at the end of the month, just ahead of his oldest daughter (Amelia Victoria) turning three in March and younger daughter (Subrielyz) turning two just six weeks later.

The birth of his third child, Darianis is expected on or around January 29. By then, Matias hopes to have avenged his February 2020 points loss to Ananyan which took place in Las Vegas. Two knockout wins have followed, both versus unbeaten opposition including an eighth-round stoppage of Batyrzhan Jukembayev in their IBF junior welterweight semifinal title eliminator. A win on Saturday will allow Matias to remain in the title hunt, with one more family member on the way to help eventually celebrate that honor.

“By the end of the month, I will have unwrapped two gifts,” notes Matias. “The first will be when I defeat Petros Ananyan, and prove to him that I am a far different fighter than the one he faced in 2020. The second will be watching my third child born.

“I can’t wait to be home for that experience, and to see my family. A win on Saturday will have made all of the sacrifices I made worth it.”

Matias-Ananyan II serves as the co-feature to WBC featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr. (31-1, 18KOs) in a mandatory defense versus Philippines’ Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16KOs).

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox