Undefeated Prospect Richard "Popeye
The Sailor Man" Rivera Takes His Act South
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
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
"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