The first year of Rivera Promotions Entertainment (RPE) as a promotional company was a resounding success, as well as an invaluable learning experience for its owners and operators, retired three-time, two division world champion Jose Antonio Rivera and his son, Anthonee (A.J.) Rivera.
RPE promoted for "New England's Future" events this past year, all held in their hometown of Worcester, located in central Massachusetts, at two different venues, DCU Center and the Palladium.
"I think we exceeded our initial expectations," RPE CEO Jose Rivera said, "promoting four shows in only 10 months. I still have high expectations and I believe we will be even better in 2018. Believe it or not, what we learned the most was about the extra costs that come with promoting boxing events. We knew the cost of the venues, purses, flights and hotels, but there are so much more in terms of cost to promote shows, and doing four in 10 months helped us learn quickly. We need to bring our A game in 2018.
"I'm most proud of my son's growth as a matchmaker and RPE president. He is so passionate about boxing and making RPE a successful promotional company in professional boxing."
RPE's philosophy is to provide a platform for young, local boxers to develop their skills and gain public and media exposure. As a former pro boxer, Jose understands how critically important that is for boxing prospects.
"It means a lot to me that we started with a dream of how we wanted to represent ourselves in the boxing game and accomplished that in our first year," Jose continued. "Boxing has a reputation for taking advantage of boxers and RPE wants to make sure that boxers know about all the sacrifices I made to become world champion and that, if they're willing to work with us - let us help them - we would love helping them get to the top as well."
AJ grew up in boxing, always at his father's side in the gym and at fights, and the young Johnson & Wales University graduate realized early on that he was born with boxing running through his veins. As the youngest matchmaker in U.S. boxing, AJ gained invaluable experience this past year, especially in the behind-the-scenes part of pro boxing.
"I would like to thank Worcester and all the fans who supported us during our first year," the 24-year-old AJ commented. "This year was fun and full of memories. Never did I imagine in our first year of business we'd be as successful as were. We're truly blessed and thankful for those who have supported and believed in us this past year. Because of the support people gave Rivera Promotions Entertainment, we are going to expand at a rapid rate. RPE is looking in to promoting shows in other states, as well as opening a new music division to promote concerts.
"I also want to give a special shout out to Connecticut. In my first year of business, I learned very quick that Connecticut breeds some bad boys! The Connecticut guys can really fight! and it's been a pleasure to develop a working relationship with its fighters who brought tremendous amounts of excitement to our shows, and to their loyal fans who traveled to show their support. It will be an honor for RPE to give Connecticut fighters an opportunity to fight in their hometowns in 2018, the same way we did for Worcester-area fighters this past year."
RPE plans to make a major announcement after Thanksgiving about its first event of 2018 and some of the boxers who've agreed to work with RPE next year.
Undefeated, rising star Tramaine "The Mighty Midget" Williams is returning to the "Sunflower State" with his own "Gold & Glory" plan as he battles for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) International junior featherweight title co-main event on the "KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory" card, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
"KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory" is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Roc Nation Sports and Hartman Arena. The event is sponsored in part by Park City KS, Twister City Harley-Davidson and Metro PCS.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
Williams 13-0, 5 KOs) will be fighting for the third time in Kansas, each on a "KO Night Boxing" card headlined by hometown hero and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs). Hernandez will be fighting for his first pro title Dec. 2 in only his fourth pro fight, versus Hungarian flyweight champion Jozsef "Little Red" Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Americas flyweight title fight.
A 10-time national amateur champion from New Haven (CT), the 24-year-old Williams is moving down one weight class to fight Alexei "The Hurricane" Collado (23-2, 20 KOs) for the vacant WBO Junior Featherweight Championship in the 10-round co-featured event.
Williams, who is the No. 2-rated featherweight in the United States Boxing Association (USBA), won eight and 10-round decisions, respectively, to Eduardo Garza and Derrick Murray, this past March 3 and September 23, on "KO Night Boxing" events in Kansas. On another "KO Night Boxing" card, Williams registered a sensational opening-round knockout of 30-7 William Gonzalez, this past July at the Queen Mary in Long Beach.
"Fighting for the WBO International Junior featherweight title is a huge opportunity for me and I'm thankful for Roc Nation's support in arranging this fight," Williams said. "I know my potential and winning this belt would be the first step toward putting myself in position to fight for a world title.
"I'm looking forward to competing for this honor at Hartman Arena, in front of the fans in Kansas, who have always supported me."
Collado was a decorated amateur boxer in his native Cuba, where he defected from to Miami, where he lives and trains. In his last fight, Collado stopped Walter Rojas in the first round, May 28th in Trinidad, to capture the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) Latino junior featherweight title.
The opening televised bout is an eight-round welterweight match featuring unbeaten Wellington Romero (13-0-1, 7 KOs), a 2012 Dominican Republic Olympian who now fights out of Newburgh, New York, against his fellow Dominican, Victor Abreau (9-2, 5 KOs).
Arizona welterweight Abel Ramos (18-2-2, 13 KOs) takes on battle-tested Mexican invader Cesar Soriano (28-36-1, 17 KOs) in an eight-round throw-down.
Also fighting on the undercard in a six-round match between undefeated junior lightweights, Californian Joshua Zuniga (8-0, 3 KOs) and Moldova-native Piotr Apostol (4-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Seattle.
Wichita middleweight Jeff Sturm (1-0) faces intra-state rival Brian Clements (0-01), of Topeka, while another Wichita fighter, junior middleweight Ramon Barber (7-16, 6 KOs). meets Milwaukee's Akeem Black (3-1, 1 KO), in a pair of four-round bouts.
Sunny Edwards and Ross Murray both expect their upcoming fight to be the toughest of their careers so far when the pair clash in an all-MTK Global Monday-night bout.
The super-flyweight Battle of Britain will take place on a Frank Warren-promoted charity bill in aid of DEBRA at the Grange Hotel in St Paul’s, London early next week.
Croydon’s Edwards (5-0) and Glaswegian Murray (6-0) will put their undefeated records on the line in a WBO European title fight as the rivals do battle for their first pro belt over 10 rounds.
“I’m absolutely made up with the opportunity,” said 21-year-old Edwards. “I think this is a good stepping stone and the first of many titles as I climb up the ladder.
“I’m looking forward to having my first proper fight against an unbeaten fighter, who’ll come in with clear ambition to try and win.
“I’ve always been interested in domestic fights because they’re the fights I looked at most growing up. You can’t really beat a good domestic fight and I’m hoping it’s a good one against Ross Murray.
“I think he’s going to be a live opponent because he’s tough and strong so it should be a good fight.” added the former ABA Elite champion, who trains out of the Steel City Gym under his old amateur coach Grant Smith.
Meanwhile, 35-year-old Murray believes he is ready for his “hardest fight to date”, having come through a seven-week training camp where he sparred against three-time Olympian Paddy Barnes ahead of his victory in Belfast last weekend.
“It’s been a good camp,” said Murray. “Just before this camp started I actually linked up with a new trainer, Craig Dixon. I’ve been training with him and some good sparring partners, including Paddy Barnes before his fight last week, so it’s been a good camp and everything’s been on point.
“It’s obviously going to be my hardest fight to date,” continued the Scot. “We both have a couple of common opponents and similar records.
“I know a bit about Sunny with his amateur pedigree and you’re always kind of keeping an eye on folk around this weight class - who’s there and who’s up and coming. I’m expecting a tough and competitive fight.”