Rising Stars Matias, Imam Set For Wilder-Fury II Undercard
With the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury only a few weeks away, the entire card is starting to fill out with big fighters and exciting prospects. The prelims are almost finalized after several more bouts were added to the PBC/Top Rank-produced event.
Some of the opening bouts feature Subriel Matias against Petros Ananyan and Amir Iman v. Javier Molina.
The 27-year-old Matias (15-0) turned pro in 2015, amassing knockout wins in each of his fifteen fights. His last win, his third of 2019, was against Jonathan Jose Eniz in November. One of those fights was against Maxim Dadashev, who died following injuries he sustained in the ring.
“I’m very excited for this fight and thankful to my team for giving me this great opportunity,” said Matias. “Just like all of my other fights, I’m going to train to my maximum level, because no matter who the opponent is, we’re all chasing the same dream. I want to thank him for taking this fight, but I won’t let him stand in my way. We’re going to give the fans great action and on February 22, we will know who is the most prepared to win.”
Matias faces the 31-year-old Ananyan (14-2-2), who is coming off of a majority decision loss to Kareem Martin back in December. He is 2-2 in his last four fights after starting his career on a fifteen-fight unbeaten streak.
“This is a moment that every boxer dreams about and I can’t wait to demonstrate my skills on a big show,” said Ananyan. “I’m training hard, learning my opponent’s style, his weaknesses and putting together a strategy for fight night. This is a very important fight for me, because with a win I will be able to make my dreams come true. It’s been a long road to achieve my dreams and I’m ready to take another big step on February 22.”
The 29-year-old Ramirez (22-2) last fought in November, beating Marcos Mojica via KO. It was his first fight since 2018, when he lost to Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC Super Lightweight Championship. He is hoping to get back to championship form as he works his way back up the ladder.
“I feel blessed to be fighting on the undercard of the biggest fight of the year,” said Imam. “I am prepared to shine and take full advantage of the opportunity and the exposure. I’ve had a great camp in preparation for this fight. I’m excited to get in the ring and I feel stronger and more prepared than ever. Defeating Javier Molina will put myself back in the conversation as one of the top super lightweights in the world.”
Before he can get back to the top, Mojica must stop Javier Molina, (21-2), who is on a four-fight win streak. Competing in the Olympics in 2008, Molina beat Hiroki Okada back in November via KO, his ninth knockout-win.
“I’m looking forward to fighting in an event as big as this one,” said Molina. “I know I’m facing a tough fighter in Amir Imam, but these are the type of fights that I need to earn a world title shot. I’m excited and ready to make a statement on February 22.”
Other fights on the non-televised card include Rolando Romero (10-0) v. Arturs Ahmetovs (5-0) and Gabriel Flores Jr. (16-0) against Matt Conway (17-1). Rounding the card out will be Vito Mielnicki Jr. (4-0) v. Corey Champion and Isaac Lowe (19-0-3) fighting Alberto Guevara (27-5).
Romero has a five-fight knockout streak, with three in 2019. After turning pro in 2019, Ahmetovs has managed to win all five of his fights. Having a busy year, the 30-year-old will look to continue his momentum in 2020. Flores’ last bout was a shut out against Miguel Angel Aispuro on the Fury v. Wallin undercard. Conway, his opponent, was undefeated before losing to Francisco Esparza back in October via split decision.
The 17-year-old Mielnicki turned pro last July and went 4-0, with three of those wins via knockout. He faces another young gun in Champion, 21, who also debuted in 2019. He beat Dustin Michael Lanning via TKO in his first fight back in July. Since then he lost two in a row, both via unanimous decision against Nigel Fennell and Xander Zayas. Lowe, Fury’s friend and training partner, has won five fights in a row. He fought Ruben Garcia Hernandez in September, beating him via unanimous decision. He faces a former bantamweight title challenger in Guevara, who is in a two-fight losing streak. His last bout was a last-minute affair against Shakur Stevenson, losing in the third round via KO.
The Deontay Wilder v. Tyson Fury rematch takes place February 22 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prelims will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. ET on FS1, ESPNEWS, FOX Deportes and ESPN3.