NEW YORK – The Lone Wolf was no match for the Albanian Bear.

Staten Island’s Reshat Mati used attrition to wear down West Virginia’s Dakota Linger to force a ninth-round stoppage in their DAZN-aired junior welterweight fight. An accumulation of power shots forced the contest to come to a halt at 0:59 of round nine Saturday evening from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City.

Mati went the distance in each of his past four fights but was more committed to deliver a knockout finish for his local fans. The 24-year-old Albanian-American pumped his jab and followed with enough right hands to cause reddening around the left eye of Linger within the first three minutes of the fight.

Linger came forward for much of the fight but was unable to cut off the ring and produce the same magic he enjoyed one year in this very venue. The West Virginia native scored a stunning second-round knockout of Josue Vargas last June but hadn’t fought since and never came close to replicating that career-best win.

Mati ripped a left uppercut that briefly froze Linger in place in round four. The punch seemed to cause dual impact, as Mati repeatedly shook his left hand. Linger let his hands go during the moments Mati landed on the ropes while circling the ring but was unable to land anything of consequence.

Mati was on the move for the first half of round five, clearly affected by his suddenly injured left hand. Linger continued to walk forward but was again caught with a left uppercut before Mati once again boxed from the outside.

Head trainer Aureliano Sosa—a hero in the Brooklyn and Staten Island area who also trains former 130-pound titlist Chris Colbert—urged Mati to use considerably less movement and do more to convincingly win rounds. It was more of a pep talk than concern over the scorecards as Mati landed more than three times as many punches.

Still, the advice didn’t quite take. Mati was constantly on the move, particularly at the start of the frame when he had his back turned as Linger raced across the ring. He began to throw more left hands to the body in rounds six and seven, along with straight right hands upstairs.

Both fighters tumbled to the canvas late in round seven. A kip-up by Mati drew a rise out of the crowd, which spoke to the lack of action for a stunt to stand out that late in the fight.

Linger continued to throw more punches than Mati but was well off the mark with most of his shots in round eight. A missed right hand left him open for a monster left uppercut by Mati, who landed the same shot in succession early in round nine after a brief inspection by the ringside doctor to assess Linger’s health.

Mati continued to apply pressure and look for openings upstairs. Enough punches found their way home to convince referee Arthur Mercante Jr. to stop the contest.

Linger fell to 13-6-3 (9KOs), The defeat marked his third via stoppage, though he never hit the deck in any of those fights.

Mati is now 14-0 (8KOs) as he picked up his first win inside the distance since December 2020.

Headlining the show, Brooklyn’s own Edgar Berlanga (20-0, 16KOs) faces Ireland’s Jason Quigley in a scheduled twelve-round super middleweight contest. Their bout tops a four-fight DAZN telecast which begins at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox