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Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera takes his act South

Undefeated prospect Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera returns to the South this Friday night (Feb. 23) in another “stay busy” fight on the “Christy Martin Fight Night” card, presented by Christy Martin Promotions, at Centerstage@Noda in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Last November 30th, Rivera fought in Charlotte for the first time, knocking out local favorite Joshua Robertson in the sixth round. On Feb. 23 he will face veteran Mexican fighter Jose “Olimpico” Corral (20-23, 12 KOs) in a scheduled six-round bout to be contested at a 187-pound catch-weight.


The Puerto Rican-American fighter didn’t have many supporters last time around but, based on his impressive performance, he won some fans over to his side, and he fully intends to add more this trip.

“Fighting there the first time was an interesting experience,” Rivera said. “I had some mixed emotions, but the fans there showed me a lot of love. People came up to me after the fight saying how much they enjoyed watching me fight. It was a good experience for me. I beat up a local fighter, but they want me back, and I’m going there to get the job done again.

“The plan is for me to have more fights this year to increase my ring experience. I feel more confident each fight. All I’m lacking is experience in big fights and that’s coming. The more confident I become in the ring helps me focus better on what I’m doing in there.

“I’ve had a few obstacles along the way, but I love boxing and fighting as ‘Popeye’. I wake up every morning ready to go.”

Rivera (9-0, 8 KOs), the reigning Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All America light heavyweight champion, is part of a trio that formed Hartford Boxing Promotions (HBP) last year, which also includes Rivera’s manager/head trainer Tony Blanco and their other partner, Michael Tran.

Blanco noted that this fight for Rivera has added importance. “We’re talking to a big promoter about a deal to co-promote Richard,” Blanco explained. “So, he has to look good February 23rd in Charlotte. He has the right combination of talent and marketability that fans love.

“Going to Charlotte to fight the first time was a good experience. They liked and respected him so much that he’s heading back by popular demand. We really love Christy, to be honest. She has already asked if Richard would fight on a card that she’s promoting in March in Jacksonville, Florida.”

Martin feels the same way about Team Rivera. “He’s an awesome kid,” she added. “He’s talented, a solid pro in the ring, and very charismatic outside the ring. Fans here love him as a fighter and person. I’ve been saying ‘Popeye’ is coming back and fans here are excited.

“And now he’s stepped out of his comfort zone, fighting outside of New England, in front of different crowds, and against fighters with different styles The sky’s the limit for him. I think he’s the real deal.”

Tickets are priced at $70.00 (ringside) and $35.00 (general admission and available to purchase at the venue.

Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first bout scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET.

All fights and fighters are subject to change.

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Undefeated prospect Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera will take his act South this Friday night, when he fights Joshua Robertson in a “stay busy” fight on the “Boxing Bash” card, presented by Christy Martin Promotions, at Centerstage@Noda in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rivera vs. Robertson, contested at a 185-pounds catchweight, will be co-promoted by Rivera’s promoter, Hartford Boxing Promotions.

Rivera (8-0, 7 KOs), the reigning Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All America light heavyweight champion, is part of a trio that formed Hartford Boxing Promotions earlier this year, including Rivera’s manager/head trainer Tony Blanco and their partner, Michael Tran.

Fighting out of Hartford (CT), Rivera has rejuvenated that market, whose rich boxing history dates back nearly a full century, headlined by International Hall of Famers Willie “Will o’ the Wisp” Pep and Christopher “Battling” Battalino. Other top-area boxers include world champion Marlon “Magic Man” Starling, world title challengers Gaspar “El Indio” Ortega, and Israel “Pito” Cardona, and 1996 USA Olympic Boxing Team captain Lawrence Clay-Bey.

Now, though, it’s Rivera’s time to shine. Arguably the hardest-hitting, most popular fighter in New England, Rivera hit Randy Campbell so hard this past April in New Hampshire that the force of his powerful right broke his opponent’s ankle only seconds into the contest.

Rivera has developed a strong fan-base throughout New England and now he’s bringing his “Popeye” persona to the South for the first time. “This is a good opportunity to expand my ‘Popeye’ brand,” Rivera said. “My last fight was in Mexico and this fight is in North Carolina. We’re on our way to going worldwide. I have a lot of family in North Carolina, Fayetteville and Raleigh, so I won’t be alone down there.

“I believe 2019 won’t be much different that my first year as a pro. I’ll be getting a lot of fights and I think that, by the end of next year, I’ll be fighting for something big. I stay in top shape in case a good opportunity comes around. I’m confident and I’ve really benefitted from being Joe Smith’s sparring partner. This fight is about staying sharp because I don’t like having too much time off. The plan is to fight in a different part of the country, get a victory, and then remain in top shape.”

The wildly popular Rivera originally got his nickname because, when he was younger, his forearms were considerably larger than his biceps. Fighters in the gym jokingly teased Rivera about his enlarged forearms, calling him “Popeye,” and the nickname has stuck. Now, Rivera showcases his Popeye persona in full, which has added many females and children to his growing fanbase, and he attributes his wins to eating his spinach to be good to the finish.

“Fighters today need to be more than talented,” added promoter Christy “The Coal Minder’s Daughter” Martin, the two-division world champion who was a women’s boxing pioneer. I haven’t seen him (Rivera) fight yet, but I’ve been impressed by what I’ve heard about him. He’s a great addition to our card. Rivera is a big guy with power and everybody wants to see big guys. But he’s also smart, marketing wise, by capitalizing on ‘Popeye.’ He gets it.”

Blanco connected with Martin through social media and, as he explained, things went smoothly from there to place Rivera on that card. “We want to keep Richard busy and then have a breakout year in 2019,” Blanco noted. “The beauty of Richard is that he stays busy and works hard, sometimes when he’s training by himself. Boxing is his job and I believe he’s destined for greatness.”
Robertson (7-11, 2 KOs), of Lynchburg, Virginia, has fought the likes of unified world junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd, former USBA middleweight title holder Luis Arias, and ex- WBC FECARBOX welterweight titlist Thomas LaManna.

Tickets are priced at $70.00 (ringside) and $35.00 (general admission and available to purchase at the venue.

Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first bout scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET.

All fights and fighters are subject to change.

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