World Champ Rivera receiving Young Leader Award

20.01.04 – World Boxing Association welterweight champion “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera has been selected as the Telegram & Gazette’s 2003 Visions Young Leader Award recipient for his youth leadership in Worcester (MA). Rivera, 30, is one of five Visions Award winners in different categories being honored for their achievements January 29 in Mechanics Hall. Mass. Lt. Gov. Kerry Murphy Healey will be the guest speaker at the ceremony that is open to the public.

“Mr. Rivera overcame numerous challenges growing up in the inner city and demonstrated what hard work and determination can translate into when he captured the WBA championship belt last year in Berlin, Germany” Visions Awards panel member Thomas Cole said.

The Young Leader Award goes to an individual younger than 35 and is awarded in recognition of outstanding service in private business, professional life or community leadership. Jose, an associate court office at Worcester Juvenile Court, has worked many years with Worcester youth through such organizations as the Worcester public schools system, the Boys & Girls Club and the United Way of Central Massachusetts.

“This is a real honor,” Jose remarked. “There are so many other people doing wonderful work for youth and I feel blessed to be selected. The work I do with and for the youth of Worcester is simply a matter of me taking an opportunity to give back and try to make as much of a difference as possible. Having grown up underprivileged and going through all the obstacles that many of our youths are facing today is why they are able to relate to my message.

“Being able to overcome many obstacles and achieve success in boxing has given me a platform to do the work that I do. I thank God for that. People say I deserve this award; in life we deserve nothing, but God gives it to us anyway. We have to work hard and earn it! We can earn things in life without feeling like we are entitled. It is as simple as just humbling ourselves and doing God’s will.”

Rivera (37-3-1 (24 KOs), is in training to defend his world title against an opponent, site and date to be determined.

“I have watched Jose grow from a child into an adult,” Rivera’s longtime manager Steven “Tank” Tankanow added. “Through the ups and downs of life, he always manages to stay in the sunshine and he inspires those around him to do the same. He lives by faith and not by fear."

Article posted on 20.01.2004

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