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Matias wins IBF jr. welterweight crown, James pleases Armory fans


David Connor


Subriel Matias jubilantly receives IBF junior welterweight belt. (photo, David Connor)

Matias jubiliantly receives the IBF junior welterweight championship belt.
(photo, David Connor)

Subriel Matias captured the vacant IBF junior welter weight championship when Jeremias Ponce’s corner recommended to referee Mark Nelson to stop the fight at the end of round five in front of over 4000 attendees at the Armory in Minneapolis.  The action packed main event was a slug fest with both fighters throwing punches in the center of the ring for all five rounds.  In the final minute of round five Matias landed a flurry of punches that dropped Ponce to the floor.  At the end of the round Ponce’s cornermen involved themselves in an animated discussion, with referee Mark Nelson waiving his hands in the air, signaling the end of the fight.  After the fight, Matias said, “I knew he was hurt.  He was going backwards so I kept going.  I’m like a lion looking for prey.”  Ponce said he wants a rematch, hinted that he could have continued but, “my team knows me and they made the decision that they had to

make. It hurts, but the most important thing is that I am healthy.”


Minneapolis’s own Jamal James won a unanimous decision over former Olympian Alberto Palmetta with a unanimous 10 round decision.  James said after the fight that he won but that he “could have done a lot better.”

James struggled early with Palmetta’s awkward southpaw style, but he had the clear height and reach advantage and simply out punched the game Argentinian. James took control in the seventh round, landing several right hands flush on the jaw of Palmetta, who refused to go down and battled throughout the fight, landing several solid shots.  Round nine was equally eventful, with Palmetta getting inside the taller James to land several uppercuts; but with the hometown crowd cheering him on, James countered Palmetta with his own hooks . Judge Chris Wilson scored it 98-92, Ludy Webster had it 99-91 and John Shorley saw it 98-92, all for James.


One can’t blame the crowd at the Armory for booing at the end of rounds 1 and 2 after much hyped hot shot, Elvis Rodriquez, hardly threw a punch, let alone landed a blow. The Dominican appeared uninterested in fighting the first half of the bout, with Blast Hands Joseph Adorno landing jab after jab for the first six rounds, appearing to be on his way to a victory on points.  Rodriguez suddenly woke up in the seventh round and landed a straight right followed by a flurry of jabs and hooks,  first stunning,  then sending Adorno to the canvas. Adorno rose to his feet at the 8 count and held on to survive the the round with both fighters taunting each other after the bell before returning to their corners. A soft left jab sent Adorno back to the floor with 20 seconds to go in the 10th.  Judge Patrick Morely called it a draw at 97-97 but was overruled by Judges Scott Erickson, who scored it 97-91 and Mike Fitzgerald, who called it 95-93, both for Rodriguez, giving him the majority decision. After the fight, a disappointed Adorno called the Judge’s “blind” and said that he “won every round except the ones he dropped me.”  The knockdown in the seventh round clearly impressed the judges and Rodriguez said the “seventh round was huge, that’s when I truly started to win this fight.”


Veshawn Owens brought the Minneapolis crowd alive and regained his winning ways with a 10 round unanimous decision over Kudratillo Abdukakhorov.  Owens last fight, also at the Minneapolis Armory back in December of 2021, was a loss to the current WBA 140-pound champion Alberto Puello.  Abdukakhorov, born in Uzbekistan and now fighting out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, struggled with Owens reach advantage but was able to score often in the early rounds with both right and left hooks to the head.  As the match progressed Abdukakhorov hooks turned into missed haymakers and Owens slowly gained the advantage using his size and reach to patiently rack up points with rapid fire flurries of left jabs and straight rights. Owens stalked Abdukakhorov, who by the end of round 10 was backing up and doing everything he could to avoid Owens.   Judge Scott Erickson scored the fight 98-92 in favor of Owens, while John Shorley gave Owens nine out of ten round with a score of 99-91 and Kyle Shields scored it 97-93 for Owens.

Willie Jones knocked Derrick Jackson out cold, during the scariest moment of the evening, at 1:22 of round 1. The Armory crowd gasped when Jones landed a powerful straight left to Jackson’s head, causing him to fall straight backwards to the ring floor, hitting his head and lying motionless. Referee Mark Nelson immediately stopped the fight, summoning medical attention.  Jones upped his record to 9-2 with the sixth knock out of his career. Jackson suffered the first defeat of his professional career, but did walk out of the ring on his own and appeared to be okay after several minutes of medical attention.


Super Lightweight Mikkel Spencer improved to 3-0 after knocking Margarito Hernandez down after a flurry of punches in the first round just as the referee was about to step in and stop it.  Hernandez, whose record dropped to 3-5-1, threw very few punches and posed no threat to Spencer.


Breezy Breeon Carothers TKO’d Kevin Scrappy Schmidt at 1:05 of the first round.  The referee stopped the bout after several headshots, perhaps too soon,  but  with a nod of agreement from Schmidt who made no protest when the fight was stopped.  Carothers, out of Racine, Wisconsin improved to 3-0 and appears ready for a stronger opponent after defeating winless Schmidt.


Evenly matched bantamweights Eduardo Diogo and Jonathan Lopez fought to a 6 round majority draw in the opening bout of the evening.  Lopez, out of Humacao Puerto Rico started strong and finished strong but Golden Boy Diogo, fighting out of San Paulo, Brazil dominated rounds 3, 4, and 5 with a nice left jab and combinations to the body.  Lopez picked up the pace in the 6th round, leaving no clear winner.

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