Promising lightweight Michel "La Zarza" Rivera (20-0) is looking to have a very big year.

He kicked off his 2021 campaign with an eigth round knockout victory over Anthony Mercado on February 27th.  The bout topped a Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 card that supported the Anthony Dirrell-Kyrone Davis main card that aired on FOX.

The 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic had been in negotiations to move up two weight classes to fight former 4-division champion Adrien Broner but when the deal fizzled out, Rivera still had the opportunity to test out the waters in the welterweight division when the Mercado fight was presented.

With that fight out of the way, Rivera is focused on making a name for himself in the lightweight division.

"I hope that the top guys at 135 like Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney would accept a fight with me.  I have the talent and the potential to dethrone any of them," Rivera told

Rivera said that he felt strong at the higher weight but knows that 135 is his true weight at this point in his career.  

After having 2 fights in 2020, he hopes to have a busier schedule this year with his ultimate goal being to fight for a world title before 2022.

"The plan is to be more active this year and thanks to God I feel ready for whatever test is put in front of me. I believe that I will be the best in the sport," said Rivera.

He picked up his most notable victory last year on Halloween when he outpointed Ladarius "Memphis" Miller on the Gervonta Davis-Leo Santa Cruz undercard.

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