Undefeated prospect Richard “Popeye The Sailor Man” Rivera returns to the South this Saturday night (Feb. 23) in another “stay busy” fight on the “Christy Martin Fight Night” card, presented by Christy Martin Promotions, at Centerstage@Noda in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Last November 30th, Rivera fought in Charlotte for the first time, knocking out local favorite Joshua Robertson in the sixth round. On Feb. 23 he will face veteran Mexican fighter Jose “Olimpico” Corral (20-23, 12 KOs) in a scheduled six-round bout to be contested at a 187-pound catch-weight.
The Puerto Rican-American fighter didn’t have many supporters last time around but, based on his impressive performance, he won some fans over to his side, and he fully intends to add more this trip.
“Fighting there the first time was an interesting experience,” Rivera said. “I had some mixed emotions, but the fans there showed me a lot of love. People came up to me after the fight saying how much they enjoyed watching me fight. It was a good experience for me. I beat up a local fighter, but they want me back, and I’m going there to get the job done again.
“The plan is for me to have more fights this year to increase my ring experience. I feel more confident each fight. All I’m lacking is experience in big fights and that’s coming. The more confident I become in the ring helps me focus better on what I’m doing in there.
“I’ve had a few obstacles along the way, but I love boxing and fighting as ‘Popeye’. I wake up every morning ready to go.”
Rivera (9-0, 8 KOs), the reigning Universal Boxing Federation (UBF) All America light heavyweight champion, is part of a trio that formed Hartford Boxing Promotions (HBP) last year, which also includes Rivera’s manager/head trainer Tony Blanco and their other partner, Michael Tran.
Blanco noted that this fight for Rivera has added importance. “We’re talking to a big promoter about a deal to co-promote Richard,” Blanco explained. “So, he has to look good February 23rd in Charlotte. He has the right combination of talent and marketability that fans love.
“Going to Charlotte to fight the first time was a good experience. They liked and respected him so much that he’s heading back by popular demand. We really love Christy, to be honest. She has already asked if Richard would fight on a card that she’s promoting in March in Jacksonville, Florida.”
Martin feels the same way about Team Rivera. “He’s an awesome kid,” she added. “He’s talented, a solid pro in the ring, and very charismatic outside the ring. Fans here love him as a fighter and person. I’ve been saying ‘Popeye’ is coming back and fans here are excited.
“And now he’s stepped out of his comfort zone, fighting outside of New England, in front of different crowds, and against fighters with different styles The sky’s the limit for him. I think he’s the real deal.”
Tickets are priced at $70.00 (ringside) and $35.00 (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.