Sometimes a name just sticks. While attending Synergy Alternative High School in East Hartford, Connecticut, a young Richie Rivera was joking around with friends when they called him “Popeye” for the first time.
Created in 1929, a corncob pipe and sailor hat remain the trademark of the beloved character, Popeye the Sailor Man, in his quest to protect Olive Oil from the treacherous grasps of Bluto.
It wasn’t long until most of East Hartford knew Richie Rivera only as Popeye. Absorbing the name, Rivera would go on to appear in all his professional fights donning a Popeye style corncob pipe and sailor hat.
RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA (E. Harford, CT, 21-0 16KO’s) will board a flight heading east for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he is scheduled to fight former two-time world champion, “THE RIPPER” BADOU JACK (Las Vegas, NV, 26-3-3 16KO’s) on the undercard of the Unified World Heavyweight Championship rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk on August 20. Richie Rivera clearly understands that his fight against Badou Jack is a clear-cut life changing opportunity for the 31-year-old East Hartford native.
A victory will no doubt change the course of ‘Popeye’s” career and personal life, but to him, a victory represents even more. “This is huge,” said Rivera. I know this opportunity will catapult my career! This opportunity is giving me the chance to make a difference in my community, for my family and my personal life.”
With a victory, and the anticipated spoils that come with it, Rivera is not hoping to buy a nice car, or go on a fancy vacation, but instead the first major difference Rivera is hoping to make is in is his community. “I come from a family that loves helping and giving back. I had the opportunity to go on a missionary trip to Guatemala and Peru! I am very involved with my church and get inspired to help others because I understand that there is much going on in the world.” Knowing many little East Hartford eyes will be tuned into the fight, Rivera continued, “with my experiences, I want to show kids in Hartford that anything is possible. It sounds cliché but hard work and perseverance does pay off. Believe in your dreams and never take your foot off the gas.”
Inspiration aside, Badou Jack will be no easy task, but Rivera believes he has the edge. “I have been calling out Badou Jack for quite some time. I believe that this is the best fight for me because he is a seasoned veteran, he is a respected opponent, former world champion, and with this victory on this large of a platform, it will finally give me the respect I deserve in the ring, and the ability to show the world who I am.”
Rivera’s promoter, Star Boxing CEO JOE DEGUARDIA said: “This is an interesting fight on a big show and a huge opportunity for him. Popeye is a truly charismatic, interesting and marketable undefeated prospect. He knows that a win against a former two time world champion in Badou Jack will be a life changer for him and enable him to have an even greater positive impact on his community.”
The Badou Jack-Richard Rivera fight is promoted by Badou Jack Promotions and Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing.