PRESS RELEASE                                                                      For Immediate Release








SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (December 13, 2019) — Rising Connecticut stars RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA and “ACTION” ANTHONY LAUREANO both remained undefeated with impressive performance tonight on a solid “New England Explosion” card in front of an enthusiastic crowd at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“New England Explosion,” presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING, sponsored by MGM Springfield, aired live in a first for New England Sports Network (NESN), and streamed worldwide (excluding N.E.) on www.FITE.TV.

Heavy-handed Rivera (now 16-0, 12 KOs) took his power up to the cruiserweight division against “MIGHTY” JOE JONES (now 11-2, 8 KOs), who unexplainably kept his hands very low, as “Popeye” pounded him to the head and body in the main event. Rivera hit Jones with everything but the kitchen sink, in what looked like batting practice at times, although “Popeye” failed to register a stoppage for only the third time in 16 pro fights.

It was a rough, physical fight that got chippy early with both fighters exchanging trash talk and showboating. Rivera, who hails from Hartford, pressed the action throughout the fight against a defensive Jones, who switched to a peep-a-boo style in the later rounds.

“I’m strong to the finish because I eat my spinach….toot, toot! My coach kept telling me to relax but, honestly, I was putting on a show. More or less, I was acting,” Rivera talked about the roughhousing. “He was tough. My team said to box. The plan wasn’t to go for a knockout. I threw some big shots just to let him know.

“I’m so happy to have had my seventh fight this year. I’ve been active and I’m undefeated. I try to put on a show for the fans and be a role model.”

In the co-main event, Laureano (now 13-0, 4 KOs), a 2016 New England Golden Gloves champion from nearby East Hartford, CT., defeated Texas super lightweight ANGEL “AZTEC WARRIOR” HERNANDEZ (17-14-2, 11 KOs) in a toe-to-toe battle from the opening . This TV-friendly fight could have been fought in a proverbial phone booth. Laureano, as usual, was relentless in his attack, systematically breaking down his opponent with strong body work of his own, as well as seemingly landing uppercuts and left hooks at will.

Laureano (pictured below on the right) took control in the second and never let up against a game Hernandez, who, like Laureano, never stopped throwing punches. Eventually, Laureano won an 8-round unanimous decision in a wildly entertaining, highly competitive clash.

“It was beautiful,” Laureano commented. “I like wars, my trainers don’t. I let my emotions take over. It was a beautiful fight, though, all action and the people loved it. But I fought his fight. I did adapt and showed some of my boxing ability at some points.

“He’s experienced and came in confident. He kept coming; he’s tough. This will build me into a better fighter. I did a lot of good things. The goal is to learn from every fight, I will, and we’ll go back to the drawing board.”

Danbury, CT super lightweight OMAR “THE BEAST” BORDOY (now 10-1, 3 KOs) opened the NESN broadcast with a masterful display of boxing, winning all eight rounds on each of the three judges’ scorecards for an 8-round unanimous decision against late replacement DIEUMERCI “ELEPHANT MAN” NZAU (now 11-11, 8 KOs).

Bordoy effectively and consistently beat Nzau to the punch, moved well inside the ropes, and never put himself in dire straits. “It felt good,” Bordoy said after the fight. “The game plan was to out-box him, use my job, and not take any unnecessary chances. I followed the game plan and came out with an easy victory.

“I knew he had some power and he caught me with a good punch early. I watched some tape of him and listened to my trainers. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible.”

In a battle of welterweight southpaws, hometown favorite DERRICK “BAD BOY” WHITLEY II (6-1-1) suffered a cut over his right eye from an accidental headbutt by JERMAINE CORLEY (3-8, 1 KO) during the second round. The ringside physician halted the action after two rounds and the fight, by rule, was a “no decision.”

In the opening bout of the evening, Hartford welterweight prospect JEFFREY TORRES (now 6-0, 4 KOs) kept his undefeated record intact, pitching a shutout for a 6-round unanimous decision over Brockton, MA journeyman ANTONIO CHAVES FERNANDEZ (now 9-40-4, 3 KOs).   Torres out-boxed Fernandez, who was buzzed several times, from start to finish.

Brazilian light heavyweight LEANDRO “BUSCAPE” SILVA (2-3, 1 KO) ruined the homecoming for local fighter ANGEL ‘ THE BLACK RICAN” VAZQUEZ (0-2) In the walk-out bout, Silva trapped Vazquez on the ropes in the fourth round. Vazquez suffered a standing eight count, but the referee halted the action, and awarded Silva a win by technical knockout.

Complete results and more pictures below:  



Richie Rivera (16-0, 12 KOs), Hartford, CT

WDEC8 (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)

Joe Jones (11-2, 8 KOs), Leesburg, VA


Leandro Silva (2-3, 1 KO), Woburn, MA

WTKO4 (2:00)

Angel Vazquez (0-2), Springfield, MA


Derrick Whitley II (6-1-1), Springfield, MA


Jermaine Corley (3-8, 1 KO), Mt. Vernon, NY

Jeffrey Torres (6-0, 4 KOs), Hartford, CT

WDEC6 (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)

Antonio Chaves Fernandez (9-40-4, 3 KOs), Brockton, MA


Anthony Laureano (13-0, 4 KOs), East Hartford, CT

WDEC8 (79-74, 79-74, 77-76)

Angel Hernandez (17-14-2, 11 KOs), McAllen, TX

Omar Bordoy (10-1, 3 KOs), Danbury, CT

WDEC8 (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)

Dieumerci Nzau (11-11, 8 KOs), Silver Spring, MD

Laureano (L) and Hernandez put on a terrific show


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


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.