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Garcia emerges as possible option for Paro


Australia’s newest world champion Liam Paro announced himself to the mainstream with a comprehensive unanimous decision victory over Subriel Matias to claim the IBF super lightweight world title.

Paro travelled to Matias’ native Puerto Rico to take on the incumbent champion, turning in a beautiful boxing performance, combining slick hands, sharp movement and plenty of toughness to dethrone the dangerous knockout artist many had tipped to unify the belts at 140-pounds.

In doing so, the 28-year-old from Mackay, Queensland instantly threw his name in the hat for some big fights in one of the sport’s hottest divisions.

MORE: Which Australians currently hold world titles?

We take a look at what might come next for the Aussie southpaw:

Immediately following his win over Matias, Paro declared himself “the man” in the division.

“I’ve been a road warrior so let’s bring the big fights back to Queensland, I’m a proud Queenslander,” he said.

“I want everyone. I’ve proved that I’m at the top here. 25 tests, 25 wins. All the big guys, let’s go get it.

“I just took out the boogeyman, I am the man now, I’m the captain. Come and get it.”

Matchroom Boxing boss and Paro’s co-promoter Eddie Hearn agreed that a big fight in his home state would be a fitting reward for the performance.

“Time to bring him home to Australia, he’s been on the road for a long time, having to take all these fights,” Hearn said.

“Love to see him defend that championship in Australia. Massive win and he deserves it.”

Currently, the four major belts in the division are spread far and wide:

Hearn listed some possible options for Paro in the ring following his upset victory.

“Liam Paro became a big name tonight,” the powerhouse promoter said.

“You’ve got Ryan Garcia, you’ve got Pitbull Cruz, you’ve got Teofimo Lopez, Richardson Hitchins. This is just an incredible night for Australian boxing and Liam Paro.”

Questions still remain over the future of Garcia, who is currently dealing with the aftermath of a positive anti-doping test stemming from his controversial win over Haney.

There is no doubt, however, of the 25-year-old’s star power and Paro has welcomed a fight with the hard-hitting Californian.

“There’s a guy named Ryan Garcia calling me out after the Montana Love fight,” Paro told Matchroom Boxing in the dressing room post-fight.

“Be professional, make weight and there’s a title on the line in Brisbane waiting for you.”

Paro’s last outing in Brisbane saw him knock Brock Jarvis out in the first round of a domestic showdown in the main event of Matchroom’s Australian debut.

Now champion, the lefty can expect his next fight on home soil to be significantly bigger.

Unsurprisingly, Matias has put his hand up for a rematch and said he’d be willing to do it on the road.

“I don’t feel that I am in any position to decide what I want to do right now,” Matias said.

“But if Eddie Hearn says, ‘You need to go to Australia and have a rematch with Liam Paro’, what I’ll do is I will knock out Liam Paro and do something I was not able to do on the night.”

Regardless, a blockbuster homecoming bout against one of the division’s big names is no less than Paro deserves for backing himself to defeat the avoided Matias in his own backyard.

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