For Immediate Release









SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (December 2, 2019) — New England’s most powerful puncher and one of the area’s most popular pro boxers, undefeated RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA (15-0, 12 KOs), returns to the ring Friday, December 13 on “New England Explosion”, presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING, at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“New England Explosion,” sponsored by MGM Springfield, will air live for the first time on New England Sports Network (NESN), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. The home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, NESN is available nationally on a sports subscription basis.  



Rivera will be fighting near his Hartford, Connecticut home (25-minute drive) for the first time in 1 ½ years. The charismatic Rivera, whose “Popeye” persona has endeared him to fans everywhere, has already fought six times in 2019, expanding his growing fans base in Mexico, Florida, and New York (two fights in each), plus North Carolina.



“I’m thrilled to be fighting in my backyard again,” Rivera said. “To get the job done I take each fight like it’s my hardest. I feel like this will be an exciting victory for me.



“I believe that I’ll be just as busy in 2020 as I’ve been this year. I want to keep fighting a lot for fans to think of me as one of the most active fighters in the game.”



Rivera will take on cruiserweight “MIGHTY” JOE JONES (11-1, 8 KOs), fighting out of Leesburg, Virginia, in the 8-round, co-featured event. Rivera was able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, because he’s fighting as a full-fledged cruiserweight (200 lbs.), rather than in his natural 175-pound light heavyweight division, or the 185-pound catchweight he’s fought at so many times.



“I’m going up in weight,” he noted, “so I didn’t have to hold back on turkey. I figure that the light heavyweight division is slowly picking up, but that the cruiserweight division is on a dying cycle. I’m going to make a name at cruiserweight before dropping down to my regular weight (light heavyweight) and I can out-punch any light heavyweight. I’ll continue to train hard and eat well, as always, but still bring my power to cruiserweight.”



“This is a huge fight for Richie,” his head trainer Tony Blanco commented. “Fighting a good, quality opponent who is a natural cruiserweight will be his toughest test to date. Jones is a solid pro, young (24), and he packs a good punch. An impressive victory for Richie will open doors for him to make a big splash in 2020. We’re right there at the door.



“I think Richie will be able to climb the ladder (ratings) faster as a cruiserweight than light heavyweight. He’s going to bring excitement to the cruiserweight division and make his mark there before easily going back to light heavyweight.”



“Richie Rivera is an exciting prospect and I look forward to his fight on December 13th at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The fans are in for an exciting fight in the ring, and his ‘Popeye’ persona is also entertaining”, stated Joe DeGuardia, President of Star Boxing.


The Rivera vs. Jones bout will be co-promoted by Hartford Boxing Promotions, which is owned and operated by Rivera, Blanco and Michael Tran.

Blanco and Rivera agree that “Popeye” has gained invaluable experience sparring the past year with his stablemate and one of the stars of Star Boxing, union worker and former WBC International light heavyweight champion JOE SMITH, JR. (Mastic Beach, Long Island, 24-3, 20 KOs), who is training for his January 11th showdown in Atlantic City versus JESSE HART (26-2, 21 KOs) on ESPN.



“I love working with Joe,” Rivera added. “He has tremendous power. Joe’s a light heavyweight who definitely has pop. If I can take Joe’s punches, I can’t think of a better way for me to get ready to fight a good cruiserweight. Every time I spar with Joe – right now, about once a week – it’s a learning experience for me.”



Rivera is part of a Nutmeg State triple-header in Springfield. East Hartford super lightweight “ACTION” ANTHONY LAUREANO (12-0, 4 KOs) returns home in an 8-round tilt against ANGEL”AZTEC WARRIOR (17-14-2, 11 KOs), while Danbury lightweight OMAR “THE BEAST” BORDOY (9-1, 3 KOs) steps up to take on Dublin, Ireland’s undefeated “SLICK” VICTOR RABEI (8-0, 2 KOs) in what will be Bordoy’s first scheduled eight-round bout.  



Ticket prices start at $40.00 (excludes facility fees and convenience charges) and are on sale now at www.MassMutualCenter.com and the MassMutual Center Box Office, as well as through Hartford Boxing Promotions (860.840.6244 / 519.1505).



Doors open at 6 p.m. ET, first bout at 7:30 p.m. ET and the NESN broadcast commences at 9 p.m. ET.




Tony Palmieri | TonyPalmieri@StarBoxing.com | 718-823-2000 x103

Bob Trieger | BobTFCP@hotmail.com | 978-590-0470


Dawn Heideman |  dheideman@mgmspringfield.com |  413-271-3235
Paul Bermel | pbermel@nesn.com |  617-536-9233 |  @NESNpr
MEDIA CREDENTIAL APPLICATION: https://starboxing.com/media-credentials/
About MassMutual Center  

MassMutual Center is managed by the entertainment and hospitality industry leader, MGM Springfield, and owned by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. MassMutual Center is Western Massachusetts’ most diverse function space with over 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space including a 40,000 sq. ft. flexible exhibit hall, five fully-functional meeting rooms, a 15,000 sq. ft. ballroom, and an 8,000-seat arena. The facility is the proud home to the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds and American International College D1 Men’s Hockey team, in addition to hosting family shows, concerts, meetings, social and corporate functions, sporting events and more. 


About MGM Springfield

MGM Springfield covers three city blocks in the heart of downtown Springfield, Mass. As the world’s first LEED™ Platinum-certified gaming resort, MGM Springfield ignites a cultural and economic renaissance in a historic New England city by seamlessly blending new design with restored historic buildings. The resort offers more than 125,000 square feet of gaming space, a 250-room boutique hotel on Main Street, superior spa services, diverse retail and inspired dining headlined by award-winning Chef Michael Mina’s Cal Mare. MGM Springfield also features a seven-screen Regal luxury cinema complex, bowling lanes, a seasonal skating rink and outdoor marketplace displaying local art, events and talent. The property opened on August 24, 2018. For additional information, please visit  mgmspringfield.com. 


About NESN 

NESN is consistently one of the top-rated regional sports networks in the country with award-winning Red Sox and Bruins coverage. NESN and NESNplus are delivered throughout the six-state New England region and are available anytime, anywhere on any device on the NESN app and at NESN.com. The network is also distributed nationally as NESN National. For the past six years, Forbes Magazine has ranked NESN as one of the 10 Most Valuable Sports Business Brands in the World. NESN.com is one of the country’s most visited sports websites with a state-of-the-art HD studio dedicated to digital video productions. NESN’s social responsibility program, NESN Connects, is proud to support and connect its employees with charitable organizations in our communities. NESN is owned by Fenway Sports Group (owners of the Boston Red Sox) and Delaware North (owners of the Boston Bruins).


About Star Boxing

For over a quarter century Star Boxing has consistently delivered boxing events of the highest caliber that attract loyal fans from all corners of the globe.   Star Boxing has promoted events at practically every locale and on every network.  From the Antonio Tarver – Roy Jones trilogy to the meteoric rise of Chris Algieri and Joe Smith Jr. through the critically acclaimed Rockin’ Fights Paramount Series, Star Boxing continues to develop world rated contenders and red-hot prospects into future world champions.  Founded by its Joe DeGuardia, an attorney, former boxer and respected boxing leader, Star Boxing has become revered worldwide throughout the industry for its credibility, integrity, and exciting fights.