In the main event, hard-punching, undefeated light heavyweight prospect, Richard “Popeye the Sailor Man” Rivera scored an eighth-round technical knockout victory over Jaime “Zarco” Solorio via a hard right-left-right uppercut combination that resulted in a knockdown which prompted referee, Danny Schiavone to quickly wave off the bout at two minutes and thirty seconds.
Rivera, who fought past the fourth-round for the first time as a professional, improved to 8-0, 7 KOs and claimed the vacant ABF Continental Americans cruiserweight title. He also successfully retained his UBF New England belt (in his first defense) that he obtained via a brutal third-round knockout victory over Kevin Cobbs, earlier this year. Popeye has five consecutive knockout victories and six of the last seven, which raised his knockout percentage to eighty-seven. Meanwhile, Solorio, who had only been stopped once, dropped to 12-4-2, 9 KOs.
“I want to thank everybody for being here and bringing our community together in one house,” Rivera said. “Happy Father’s Day. I dedicated this fight to my father who I love so much. I told everybody that he was going down in three, but Solorio was tough. I took him in deep water and I’m strong to the finish because I eat my spinach … toot, toot!”
Rivera dominated this one-sided fight. He out worked and out landed Solorio and connected on the much harder shots. Rivera displayed a great jab and good defense that prevented Solorio from getting into any offensive rhythm. Rivera took over the fight in the sixth-round as he fought more aggressively and scored his first knock down from a powerful right hook. That same round, Solorio got deducted a point by Schiavone for unsportsmanlike conduct. Popeye continued to punish Solorio for the next round and half until the referee ended it.
Hartford Boxing Promotions hosted their first boxing promotion event “Fight Night at the Capital” at the Xfinity Centre in Hartford, Connecticut. Rivera, who is a co-owner of Hartford Boxing Promotions, along with his longtime trainer and manager, Tony Blanco and Hartford Boxing Center gym co-owner, Michael Tran, brought boxing back to the capital of Connecticut after a long absence. It was also the first time that Rivera has fought in front of his hometown fans after boxing all over the New England area for the last year and half.
In the co-feature, junior welterweight, Omar “The Beast” Bordoy Jr. scored a devastating sixth-round technical knockout over Alexander “El Bravo” Picot via a straight right as referee, Shada Murdaugh immediately stopped the fight with one second left in the final round. Picot crashed to the canvas from that punch and remained there for several minutes, after which he left the ring without any assistance. The first two rounds featured good competitive, back-and-forth action as both fighters landed clean combinations. Bordoy Jr. sustained a cut over his right eye from an accidental head butt in the second, but his corner did a great job at immediately stopping the bleeding. He then took the fight over in the third and controlled the action for the rest of the bout as he got the better of the exchanges. Bordoy Jr. remains unbeaten (6-0, 2 KOs). Picot fell to 2-6-1.
Two-time New England Golden Gloves “The Special One” Sharad Collier (1-0, 1 KO) dominated Antonio Castillo Jr. and stopped him at two minutes and twenty seconds in the first-round of this junior middleweight bout from several unanswered punches. Castillo Jr. dropped to 1-1. Collier got the technical knockout win in his professional debut and fought two divisions higher than his natural weight class due to his opponent weighting in as a junior middleweight. Collier knocked down Castillo Jr. very early in the round from a hard right hook. He dominated the rest of the first as he was close to dropping Castillo Jr. on a number of occasions, which caused Schiavone to stop the bout.
Anuel Rosa (1-0, 1 KO) made quick work of his opponent, Roger Blankenship by stopping him at forty-nine seconds in the first-round in his professional debut. Rosa almost knocked down Blankenship within seconds of the round via a powerful right hook that badly staggered him. Rosa then unloaded numerous combinations on a defenseless Blankenship, which prompted Murdaugh to stop this lightweight fight and give Rosa the technical knockout victory. Rosa dedicated this fight to his late cousin, twenty-six-year-old Luis “KO King” Rosa Jr. (23-1, 11 KO) who was killed in an automobile accident in January of this year. Blankenship fell to 1-4.
Featherweight Nathan Martinez (1-0) made a successful professional debut as he scored a fourth-round unanimous decision over Henry Garcia by three scorecards (40-35). Garcia dropped to 0-2. Martinez out worked and out landed Garcia and connected on the much harder shots. He knocked down Garcia in the third-round from a powerful left, right body combination. Garcia demonstrated a great deal of toughness by making it to the final bell despite being dominated in this one-sided bout.