‘Popeye The Sailor Man’ capturing the public’s imagination in Florida
Undefeated prospect Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera is a true throwback fighter; he just asks when and where, not who and why.
Going into 2019, Rivera and his head trainer, Tony Blanco, who co-promotes Rivera (along with partners Rivera and Michael Tran) under the Hartford Boxing Promotions banner, vowed to keep their light heavyweight/cruiserweight more active and the plan has worked to perfection.
Rivera (14-0, 11 KOs), the 28-year-old knockout artist from Hartford (CT), will be fighting November 1st at Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, in a six-round bout against an opponent to be determined.
It will mark his sixth fight of 2019, fourth since he signed a co-promotional deal with Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, and also the third on a card promoted by Hall of Famer Christy Martin.
“The plan has been to stay busy and expand my fan-base,” Rivera said. “I’m amazed about how many of my fans (from Hartford) are going to my Florida fight. I watched a friend book 10 flights and Airbnb. I’ve got such a good fan-base. I have friends and family in Florida who are going to my fight. (Rivera is of Puerto Rican heritage and Florida is home to many Puerto Ricans and Puerto-Rican Americans.)
“Boxing is more of a business today, but fighters still need to fight. I use a little of boxing’s old and new like technology. It’s all about risk and reward to have wealth and health when your career is over. The plan has been to stay busy. No breaks to take, the grind never stops. I’ve always been a little jittery before a fight, but I’ve become much comfortable in the ring. I’ve had the will to win and to fight my fight.
“We have a good relationship with Joe (DeGuardia). Joe genuinely believes in my potential. He’s allowing ‘Popeye’ to take off and allowing me to take a stay-busy fight on another promoter’s card like November 1 in Florida, even though I just fought on his show a few weeks ago and will be fighting on his show in December as well.”
Blanco is thrilled with his working relationship with DeGuardia, as well as the friendship he and Rivera have developed with Martin. “Working with Joe has been fantastic,” Blanco remarked. “I knew that I would, but we’re closer now. He’s a visionary and I like the way he works. We’re on the same page and together we’re going to bring a big show to Connecticut in December.
Christy has been so good to us. She has a great soul; I love her and we’re glad to be back with her for this stay-busy fight. We really want to keep Richie busy. I honestly can’t wait to see what the future holds for ‘Popeye.’ Everyone is very excited.”
“I’m pleased that fans in Florida will get to see ‘Fight Night at the Hard Rock,'” DeGuardia added. “‘Popeye’s’ got as great persona, in and out of the ring, and with this activity the future is bright for him.”
Martin has become one of Rivera’s top supporters, commenting: “First, he’s a great person. This venue only seats 500, but everybody wants to watch ‘Popeye’ fight. In another 5-6 fights, he’ll be fighting top 10 guys and in 1 ½ -to-2 years, I think he’ll be fighting for a world title. He’s being moved at the right pace and understands marketing, unlike so many other boxers who don’t understand its value. He is ready, willing and able to post on social media. I appreciate Joe DeGuardia for letting him fight on my show. He is building a following, because everybody who meets him or watches him fight love him. ‘Popeye’ is a kid that really gets it!”
Tickets are priced at $65.00 (ringside) and $40.00 (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.