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New opponent for comebacking 3-time, 2-division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera

Three-time, two-division world champion “El Gallo” Jose Rivera has a new opponent for his comeback fight this Friday night in “Homecoming”, presented by Granite Chin Promotions (GCP) in association with Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE), at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The 45-year-old Rivera (41-6-1, 24 KOs), who was matched against Ruben “Modern Day Warrior” Galvan, didn’t find out until yesterday (Tuesday) that Galvan had broken a finger the night before. Texas veteran Larry “Slomoshun” Smith (10-37-1, 7 KOs) is the late replacement for Rivera in the eight-round main event.

“I am not a fan of late changes,” Rivera said, “but at this point it’s either that or no fight, and I’ve trained too hard not to fight.”

Rivera last fought in 2011, taking an eight-round decision over Paul Mpendo, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

The name of the event is “Homecoming” because five fighters in action are from Worcester, including three who’ve never fought there before as professionals.

Super middleweight Kendrick Ball, Jr. (9-1-2, 6 KOs) and junior middleweight Khiary Gray (15-4, 11 KOs), both promoted by CES Boxing, will be fighting at home in Worcester as pros for the first time in a pair of six-round bouts. Ball faces Mexican Fabian “El Lobo” Valdez (2-3) in the co-featured event, while Gray (15-4, 11 KOs) faces Antonio Chaves Fernandez (9-33, 4 KOs), of Brockton, MA, in a rematch of a fight won by Gray.

Also scheduled to fight on the undercard in four-round bouts are Southbridge, MA welterweight Wilfredo “El Sucaro” Pagan (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. Engelberto “Guarura” Valenzuela (11-14, 3 KOs), Springfield’s (MA) pro-debuting featherweight Joshua Orta vs. Worcester’s Edwin Rosado (1-7-1, 1 KO), Worcester’s pro-debuting welterweight Eslih Owusu vs. Bryan “The Brick” Abraham (6-30-2, 6 KOs) and Springfield, MA welterweight Jose Angel “KO” Ortiz (4-13-1, 1 KO) vs. Somerville’s (MA) Patrick Leal (0-4).

Tickets, priced at $75.00 (ringside) and $45.00 (general admission), are on sale and available to purchase at www.ThePalladium.net

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