For the first time in his career, Subriel Matias confined himself in a high altitude camp at central Mexico, in preparation to fight for the vacant IBF junior welterweight world title against Jeremias Ponce.
At more than 2,700 meters above mean sea level, Matias secluded himself at Jipiquilco, a small town popular among Mexican boxers who look for high altitude to train their bodies in low oxygen environments.
Matias, from Puerto Rico and used to train at sea level, describes his first experience with high altitude training as a nightmare.
“My first camp was at Culiacan (a Mexican sea level city), but right now we are at high altitude (at Jipiquilco)”, Subriel Matias told IZQUIERDAZO. “It’s been a nightmare. Definitely, you struggle to breathe. To be honest, I was not a believer in this (high altitude training), but now I’m experiencing it”.
Subriel Matias himself, is not sure if this different training regime will help him to become a world champion.
“We will see on February 25th”, Matias answered when asked if high altitude will help him. “After the fight, I will be able to tell you how I felt, because it’s my first camp here”.
But he is noticing a big difference in little details.
“Even walking is a big effort here”, Matias said. “That happens the first month or first month and a half, and then our body adapts itself. Even the sleeping experience is different the first week”.
With the physical training that he performed in central Mexico, Subriel Matias is comfortable with his current weight.
“Nine days before the fight I was at 145 pounds (5 above the junior welterweight light)”, Matias said. “At this moment, I don’t have an issue with that. We work for that purpose day by day. We have been very clean here. So we will not have a problem with that”.
Subriel Matias describes what is a normal day at the small town of Jiquipilco, in self seclusion.
“I wake up at 6:30 AM, I run between four and seven miles, according to what my coach tells me to do”, Matias said. “I have breakfast, and have some sleep. Have lunch, wait for two hours and go to the gym, come back and relax. By 7 PM, I am in bed, watching movies or series. That’s my daily routine here”.
Matias even shares which series he has been watching in his self confinement at Jiquipilco.
“I like movies and series”, Matias said. “I have just finished La Reina del Sur, because there were some new episodes. And I have been watching El Dragon, which has two seasons. I’m not much into video games stuff. I’m more a TV guy, and when I’m at home, I like to spend time with my daughters and go to cockfights with the guys. Those are my hobbies”.
One of the most difficult aspects of going to Mexico for his preparation is to be that much time away from his family.
“I have experienced being away from my family my last two fights”, Matias said. “I was used to setting up my camps in Puerto Rico, so I could visit my family on weekends. But right now, I can tell you, this has not been easy. I have a long time without being with my daughters, and they are babies. When I left, the youngest one had not learned how to walk, and right now she is running. I just see them by FaceTime and that is extra motivation, but it would be better if they were closer to me right now”.
SHOWTIME SPORTS® RELEASES VIDEO DETAILING THE SACRIFICES OF SUBRIEL MATIAS AND JEREMIAS PONCE AHEAD OF SATURDAY NIGHT’S TITLE SHOWDOWN
SHOWTIME SPORTS has released a video feature that will air during tomorrow night’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast showcasing the dedication, sacrifice and determination that Subriel Matias and Jeremias Ponce have shown on their paths to this world title opportunity. The top 140-pound contenders square off for the vacant IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship to decide one of the kingpins of the red-hot 140-pound division tomorrow night, Saturday, February 25 live on SHOWTIME® from The Armory in Minneapolis headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
In the video feature produced by Nick Manning, Matias opens up about the past nine months that he has spent away from his three daughters and native Puerto Rico while training in Jiquipilco, Mexico. With the opportunity of a lifetime on the horizon, Matias feels that the sacrifice will be well worth it in the end.
“The idea to be here for so long came from my promoter [Juan Orengo] and everything the man does works out for the best,” says Matias. “It’s been hard for me because I have three daughters, but at the end of the tunnel, I know this sacrifice will be worth it.”
Ponce, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, details his journey training under longtime coach Alberto Zacarias, a legendary figure in Argentine boxing history whose father trained world champions Juan Martín “Látigo” Coggi and Víctor Palma. As Ponce prepares to make his U.S. debut, he believes he has what it takes to become a world champion himself.
“I am not going on holiday, I’m going there to win,” says the 26-year-old. “He is a very good boxer, but I am going to win this fight. On February 25, I will be the world champion.”