Hartford Boxing Promotions team-up with ‘Popeye’ Rivera, ready for summer launch

Professional boxing’s newest promotional company, Hartford Boxing Promotions, has announced its official formation, as well as tentative plans calling for its inaugural event this summer in Hartford.

Boxing trainer Tony Blanco and his Hartford-based House of Boxing gym partner, Michael Tran, have teamed with their undefeated light heavyweight prospect, Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera (6-0, 5 KOs), to form Hartford Boxing Promotions. Rivera is one of the best and most popular pro fighters in New England.

“We want to bring boxing back to Hartford,” Blanco addressed why they founded this new promotional company. “Hartford is a hotbed of boxing. There’s a lot of talent here and Hartford has a rich boxing history.

“We hope to promote our first show on June 16th, subject to Connecticut Boxing Commission approval, at Xfinity Theatre in Hartford.

“It’s owned by Live Nation and has been used only as a concert hall, but it has an old-school feel and will be an awesome venue for boxing. We’re excited about promoting events in this new venue for boxing.”

Boxing’s roots in the Hartford market 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, “Iceman” John Scully and Israel “Pito” Cardona, and 1996 USA Olympic Boxing Team captain Lawrence Clay-Bey.