In the co-main event to Mark Magsayo vs. Gary Russell Jr, super lightweight contender Subriel Matias (18-1, 18 KOs) scored a ninth-round TKO over Petros Ananyan (16-3-2, 7 KOs).
Matias dropped Ananyan at the end of the round, prompting the referee to stop the fight at the suggestion of the ringside doctor between rounds.
The bout was a rematch of their 2020 match that Ananyan won by decision. Matias was able to earn revenge for his only career defeat and put himself on the path toward a world title shot. The bout was contested on the inside throughout, with Matias targeting the body early and often, while Ananyan had success with chopping shots to the head.
“This is the fight that I wanted,” said Matias, who was jubilant in victory following the fast-paced affair. “Ever since my defeat to him, I wanted to avenge the loss. When you’re sure about yourself and you know that you have the skills that you have, you take the rematch.”
Matias was able to rack up a 252 to 164 advantage in punches landed throughout the fight, including a 59-12 edge in body punches. Ananyan was more active than Matias by a 761-678 margin but Matias’ 37% connect rate out-paced Ananyan’s 21%.
Matias’ body attack backfired temporarily in round seven, as referee Mary Glover deducted a point early in the round. Matias continued to attack the body however, and both fighters continued to have strong moments through the end of the fight.
In the final seconds of round nine, Matias landed the decisive blow via a counter left hook that immediately badly hurt Ananyan and sent him to the canvas. Ananyan was able to get to his feet and was saved by the bell ringing shortly after. However, in between rounds the ringside doctor deemed that Ananyan could no longer continue and the bout was officially ruled a TKO after nine rounds.
“I’m not just a hard-hitter but the way that I fight is like cutting down a tree,” said Matias. “Just keep hitting them.
“I think I can improve my power but let’s see what happens with time. I want to thank everybody who made this fight possible. But I’m going to take my time before deciding who I will fight next.”
In the telecast opener, hard-hitting contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-2-1, 9 KOs) and once-beaten Sakaria Lukas (25-1-1, 17 KOs) fought to a spirited split-decision draw after 10 rounds of super featherweight action. The fight featured a controversial ruling of a slip on an apparent knockdown for Lukas that would have given the late-replacement the victory.
The back-and-forth affair saw Nyambayar strike first, connecting in round one with a left uppercut that caused Lukas to stumble. Lukas was able to recover quickly, but fell behind across the early rounds as Nyambayar out-landed his opponent 67 to 46 across the first five frames.
Lukas began to work his way back into the fight, landing right hands off of a consistent jab, including an overhand right that appeared to hurt Nyambayar in round eight. After the right hand, Lukas landed a counter left that put Nyambayar on the canvas, but the knockdown was ruled a slip by referee Eddie Claudio.
“What I saw in real time, he fell down not from the impact of the blow but from his body language, he just slipped. His feet went and he slipped,” said Claudio post fight to ringside reporter Jim Gray.
The potential missed knockdown call turned out to be the difference in the fight, as Lukas won at least three of the last five rounds according to all three judges. The final tallies were 96-94 for Nyambayar, 96-94 for Lukas and 95-95, resulting in the split-draw.
“I thought I won the fight and I didn’t believe it was a knockdown,” said Nyambayar. “It was a hard fight, especially against an opponent on short notice. My goal is to fight for the world title again.”
“Everyone saw it was a knockdown that should have given me a split-decision win,” said Lukas, who endured a 27-hour flight to the U.S. for the bout from his native Namibia. “I fought my heart out and I deserved the win. I took the fight on short notice. But I was ready to win. I believe I won the fight, but I can’t do anything about the decision. We had the fans behind us, they know what happened.”
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