Despite the relatively small territorial size of the Caribbean island, along with being a sovereign state of the United States, the proud sporting traditions of Puerto Rico are very much our own. When it comes to boxing, this couldn’t be any clearer, having produced numerous pugilistic icons and world champions over the years.
Boxing is an intrinsic part of Puerto Rican sporting culture, which also makes it popular when it comes to backing our favorite fighters, whenever they step into the ring. This also makes it worthwhile seeking out the best betting options available, which SBO aims to provide in great detail, cutting through all the noise to recommend top sites and great value promotions. But as they seek fame and glory, who are the next Puerto Rican boxers we might be backing next?
While there have been many boxing talents born in Puerto Rico, whether for professional or personal reasons, some of them choose to represent the United States. However, our focus here is to highlight those who currently fight under the flag of Puerto Rico, proud to represent the ‘Island of Enchantment’ at the very highest level in the sport, as we look at those currently rated as the top pound-for-pound talents.
Jose Pedraza Gonzales
According to the latest calculations and rankings via BoxRec, 33-year-old José Pedraza is the highest ranked Puerto Rican boxer in the world right now at any weight, based upon their pound-for-pound standings list where he features at #79. He also ranks at #9 in the super lightweight division category, making him one of the leading boxers in the world at his weight.
Pedraza won various medals for Puerto Rico as an amateur, such as the lightweight gold at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, before turning professional in 2011. From then onwards his rise was meteoric, winning the IBO super featherweight title in 2012, followed by the IBF title 2015, before losing it against Gervonta Davis in 2017.
Known as “Sniper” on the professional circuit, Pedraza bounced back and won the WBO lightweight crown in August 2018 against Raymundo Beltrán, but his attempt at unification for the WBA (Super) and The Ring titles failed in December 2018, beaten by Vasiliy Lomachenko. The most recent Pedraza bout was a split decision tie against Richard Commey in August this year, taking his overall fight record to 34 fights, 29 wins, 4 losses, and that one draw.
Subriel Ahmed Matías Matthew
Known as “El Orgullo de Maternillo” and proud of his Puerto Rican roots, Subriel Matías is a super lightweight hungry for title success, which must surely come his way before too long. Regarded by PBC as “one of the most exciting fighters” in his weight division, everyone knows that his ambition is to be the next world champion from Puerto Rico.
Since winning his January 2022 rematch against Petros Ananyan of Russia, who retired early under the insistent pressure from the Puerto Rican boxer, Matías has yet to schedule his next fight. However, everything points towards him finally getting a shot at the currently vacant IBF World Championship title. Ranked as the #2 contender on the IBF list, he would come up against #1 ranked Jeremieas Ponce of Argentina for the belt.
While other options are possible, Matías is further down the pecking order for the other title belts, including #8 with the WBC and #5 with The Ring, while not even in the top ten for the WBA and the WBO. Nevertheless, his fight record is really impressive, having taken 18 wins and just the 1 loss from 19 professional bouts.
Although much further down the BoxRec pound-for-pound listings, Danielito Zorrilla is a boxer with plenty of potential to achieve greatness. Born in Toa Baja where he still resides and trains, the 28-year-old recently suffered an unexpected setback, losing the first fight of his previously stellar professional career.
“El Zorro” Zorrilla was up against Arnold Barboza Jr. of the United States, held at the Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, California, fighting for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Super Lightweight title. However, despite taking his opponent the full distance of 10 rounds, the American was handed victory via the unanimous decision of the judges.
Nevertheless, there was plenty of experience to be gained even in defeat, while Zorrilla will certainly get many other opportunities to continue climbing the fight ladder. Regarded by BoxRec as being within the top 200 pound-for-pound boxers in the world right now, he is also ranks at #20 in his weight division. Despite the recent loss, his fight record remains impressive, with 16 wins and 12 knockouts from 17 bouts.