Liam Paro says he’s the new top dog at 140lbs after a punch-perfect performance popped Subriel Matias’ Puerto Rico homecoming on Saturday night, ripping the IBF junior welterweight title from the champion and becoming an overnight star in Australia.

Paro had vowed to shock the world in the build-up to his first world title fight and stuck to his word, taking the fight to the champion, who has often started slowly, stalking his prey - but Paro boxed his plan to a tee in the first half of the fight.

As the midway point approached, Matias threatened to add Paro to his lengthy list of KO victims as he looked to have broken through and Paro suffered a further setback in the seventh with a points deduction for holding and hitting.

The Australian remain composed though and crucially finished strongly, taking the final three rounds on two of the judges’ cards, and shedding tears of joy as his hand was raised with cards of 115-112 twice and 116-111 fulfilling his World title dream and a promise to his late friend.

 “I made a promise to my mate Regan Grieve, who passed away that I would do this, and I am a man of my word,” said Paro. “To all the people that doubted me, it’s Paro time! I am the man in the 140lb division now.

“I’ve been to hell and back in my life and been through harder fights than that mentally. I have always said that I will get carried out of there if I have to, but we both go home safe to our families. I have self-belief, I know the hard work I put in, I’m always the hardest worker in the room. I keep proving everyone wrong, I took the biggest test out there and came out on top. 

 “We knew it was going to be hard, Matias is a tremendous champion, and it was my hardest fight. Thanks to Puerto Rico, we had a great time here, we’d love to come back, and I hope I won some fans here.

 “He hits hard, he’s got 20 KOs for a reason, but I’m a true warrior, I’ve got the heart of a lion and I showed that. The crowd was good, I knew it was going to be hostile coming into his backyard, I always said doing it this way was going to make it a better chapter for the book and that’s going to be a highlight. I want to thank everyone that’s stuck with me throughout the injuries and setbacks, I’ve been a road warrior, now it’s time to bring the big fights back to Queensland, let’s get them over there. 

 “I’ve got the target on my back, but I want everyone. I’ve had 25 tests and got 25 wins. I just took out the boogeyman, now I’m the captain, so come and get it.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn is now plotting a homecoming fight for Paro. 

“We know that the Australian government support big time boxing, but it’s got to be world championship boxing, it’s got to be big names,” he said. “Liam Paro became a big name tonight, you’ve got Ryan Garcia, Pitbull Cruz, Teofimo Lopez, Richardson Hitchins; it’s an incredible night for Liam and Australian boxing.”