Undefeated cruiserweight Richie “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera returns to where it all started

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WORCESTER, Mass. – One of New England’s most promising prospects, as well as arguably the region’s most powerful puncher and charismatic boxer, undefeated Richie “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera, returns August 14th to where it all started for him in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Rivera (19-0, 14 KOs) will take on his Mexican opponent, Ernesto “Gatti” Berrospe Rivas (11-17, 6 KOs), in the 8-round co-featured event on the “New England’s Future VII card, presented by Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE) in association with Shearns Boxing Promotions, in one of three slated title fights at the famed Worcester Palladium. Rivera vs. Rivas will fight for the vacant NBA Americas cruiserweight title.

The Star Boxing-promoted Rivera made his pro debut on an RPE event at the Worcester Palladium on January 19, 2017, returns to fight New England for the first time since December 13, 2019. This will be his fourth fight in Worcester, third at The Palladium.

“Rivera Promotions and the fans in Worcester have always treated me like family,” Rivera said. “They adopted me. I’m dying to fight again in the ring again in Worcester; it’s fairly close to my home (Hartford, CT). I love fighting there! I’m so happy to be fighting there again, surrounded by my fans who all want me to be the best I can. I’ve received so much love in Worcester, my home away from home. The crowd goes crazy when I enter the ring. It’s crazy!”

During the pandemic, Rivera moved to Orlando, Florida and stayed busy fighting in the Sunshine state and Mexico.  “Popeye” has returned home to Hartford with a new head trainer in his corner, John “Iceman” Scully.

“I loved the weather in Florida but, career-wise, I’m on the cusp of a breakthrough,” the 30-year-old Rivera explained. “I’m back in Connecticut to get to the next level. I feel strong, physically, and mentally, and age doesn’t cross my mind, because my soul is good. “I’ve been doing yoga, stretching more, and training hard in the gym. I’m really a light heavyweight going up to cruiserweight. I’ll fight there until a good payday comes at light heavyweight. I don’t mind dropping back down or fighting as a cruiserweight. I’m a fighter. Just give me a can of spinach and I’m good to the finish.”

Rivera has a solid relationship with RPE matchmaker AJ Rivera (no relations), who has gotten three title fights (including the NBA Americas on Aug. 14) for ‘Popeye,” who is a former UBF Light heavyweight and ABF Continental Americas cruiserweight champion. 

“It is an honor for RPE to have ‘Popeye’ back on our ‘New England’s Future 7’ boxing event,” promoter Jose Antonio Rivera commented. “It was just a few years ago when he made his pro debut on our first show and now, he’s at 19-0 and getting ready for his 20th pro fight. Richie is a great person and boxer, and we are very proud of his hard work and dedication to his craft. We visualize ‘Popeye’ fighting for a World title shortly, because of his hard work, dedication, and talent. ‘Popeye’ has given us some great fights through the years and fans have seen some sensational wins and knockouts. We wish him nothing but the best and we are glad to give him the opportunity to flourish in front of the fans. You cannot say this about every boxer, but he is really great for the sport of boxing.” 

“Richard Rivera is an entertaining fighter both in and out of the ring,” Rivera’s promoter Joe DeGuardia added. “His ‘Popeye’ persona is endearing. We have big plans for him in the light heavyweight division and welcome his Northeast homecoming on August 14.”

Former University of New Haven basketball star, New London’s (CT) undefeated heavyweight Cassius “C.O.G.” Chaney (20-0, 14 KOs), who is promoted by Main Events, will fight in the 10-round main event versus former NABA Heavyweight Champion Shawdell Terell Winters (13-5, 12 KOs). 

2012 Puerto Rico Olympian Enrique Collazo (15-1-1, 10 KOs) will fight for the vacant NBA Americas Super Middleweight Championship against TBA in an 8-round bout.

Southbridge’s (MA) Wilfredo “Sucra” Pagan (6-1, 3 KOs) faces Carlos Marrero III (2-6-1), of Connecticut, in a 6-round fight for the vacant New England junior welterweight title.

Also scheduled to fight in 4-round bouts include Worcester heavyweight Bryan Daniels (5-1, 3 KOs), a 2-time New England Golden Gloves champion, vs. Corey Morey (1-4); Hartford  bantamweight and 3-time New England Golden Gloves and 2-time Ringside Nationals champion Angel “Set It Off” Gonzalez (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. TBA, Worcester junior middleweight Eslih Owuso (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. Eean Chappell (0-1-1), Boca Raton, Florida junior middleweight Josniel “TG” Castro (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Anthony Everett (1-8), Worcester cruiserweight and 3-time New England Golden Gloves champion Demek “Hightower” Edmonds (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. TBA, and former Team USA Boxing member Bobby “BH3” Harris III (2-0-1, 1 KO) vs. super middleweight Juan Celin Zapata (6-18-2, 4 KOs)..

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