Rivera Promotions - Father n’ Son Promotional Team - The 1st Pro Boxing Show is Scheduled for Jan 19
Retired professional boxer Jose Antonio “El Gallo” Rivera (41-6-1) whose last fight in the ring was on July 29, 2011 and his son A.J. Rivera both of Worcester, Massachusetts recently formed Rivera Promotions. This promotional company will be focusing on bringing boxing events to local venues in the area. Jose Rivera has had a long successful career in the sport of boxing from starting out as an amateur boxer at the age of 15 years old and turned pro on November 7, 1992. His son A.J. is no stranger to the sport of boxing. While Jose was training and fighting, A.J. was alongside his dad all the steps of the way. They are both well respected and liked in the boxing community and now the next step for this duo, their first professional card scheduled for January 19th at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Pattee Mak: Congrats on your first professional card scheduled for the 19th. This has to be a dream come true for the both of you. It’s your first boxing card and it’s in Worcester. How long has this been in the works?
A.J.: I would say this has been in the works right around my Junior and Senior Year of High School. I had said if I was going to give up on my boxing career to go to college, I still want to be involved in the sport.
Jose: Yes it is, I was involved in running a boxing show back in 2008 that I also fought on and I saw how much work it was putting it together. Plus, I was working my full-time job and trying to prepare for my fight. After the show was over (we lost about $6,000.00) my son and I discussed the show and what I could of done better as far as the promotion end of it went. It was then I knew how much my son has been paying attention throughout my career and how knowledgeable he is of the sport of boxing.
Pattee Mak: A.J. I believe you just finished school. Tell me more about your studies.
A.J.: Yes, I just graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a bachelors in Sports Entertainment & Event Management. It was an awesome experience. I was able to do a lot of networking while I was living in Providence, Rhode Island over the course of four years.
Pattee Mak: A.J., you have been involved in the scene of boxing since you were little. Can I assume since you were in diapers you were probably at your dad’s side in boxing gyms, back rooms, watching your dad train, maybe even doing some boxing training yourself or following your dad around. How has this helped you in where you want to go with this company?
A.J.: It has helped me tremendously, instead of growing up in the playground with kids my age, I was in the gym watching my dad train and other local guys that were pros at the time such as Sean Fitzgerald, Rashad Minor and Edwin Rodriguez. I also got to see a side of boxing that fans don't really know about, and that's the business side of boxing which I was fortunate enough to see at a young age once my dad signed with Don King. That experience has helped me learn a lot of what to do and what not to do when it comes to running my company. Being a former boxer myself, seeing everything my dad has went through in his career helps me be more compassionate towards the fighters and building the Rivera Promotions Entertainment team.
Pattee Mak: You just recently had an internship with another very popular boxing/mma promotional company. Did this help direct you in the right direction/path for your own?
A.J. - Yes it did. I always knew I wanted to be involved in the sport of boxing regardless. But my experience with CES helped me understand all the stuff that comes with it, the good and the bad. I'm truly grateful for Mr. Burchfield giving me the opportunity to work right beside him and learn from him. He's been around since the Ali days so it doesn't get any more hands on learning that that.
Pattee Mak: I witnessed you first hand running around the venue getting the job done. You appeared to me to be very hard working and doing a multitude of tasks.
Pattee Mak: Will you be only focusing on boxing promotions or other promotions as well?
A.J.: Well, my long-term plan is to deal with all different forms of sports entertainment. I want to build Rivera Promotions Entertainment up in boxing first because it is what I know best, but I eventually want to focus on running the company full time and eventually branch out to working with athletes such as football players, baseball players, basketball players etc. who knows maybe even dab a little into the music industry.
Pattee Mak: I like the idea of incorporating music into boxing shows. It’ll entertain the crowd during intermission.
Jose: My focus is on boxing! I do want to support my son AJ in his other endeavors as well, so I will keep an open mind about it and see how far we can take our promotional company.
Pattee Mak: Let’s get to the 19th of January. I’m excited for the both of you. Tell me more about that event. The time, ticket prices, sponsors etc etc., and most importantly who’s fighting on the card. Main event. Undercard.
A.J.: Thank you, and the time we will be starting is 7:30pm. Tickets will be $35.00 for general admission and $65.00 for ringside. We have a couple sponsors already such as Lundgren Honda of Auburn and my dad’s nutrition company Championsofhealth.usana.com. We are working on a few more. We priced the tickets fairly cheap because we want Worcester to enjoy professional boxing being back in our City for the first time in years. My goal is to make this not just a boxing show but an event. Maybe we will be able to get a musician to perform at intermission. I want to showcase the talent Worcester has. Aside from having about 8 or 9 active pro fighters, we have other athletes and musicians making noise. I want January 19th to be about showing the community what Worcester has to offer. As for the fighters, we have on the card, we are still making our final lineup, but Worcester’s own Irvin Gonzalez Jr. 4-0-0, 4KO's will be fighting his first 6 rounder on our show and will be the night’s main event. Also Worcester native Ranse Andino will be making his Pro Debut, Ranse is another disciple of a great coach in Kendrick Ball Sr out of CGR [Camp Get Rite ] who is the coach of UBF champ Khiary “Too Sharp” Gray and undefeated Kendrick Ball Jr. Then we have a tough-rugged fighter by the name of Mohammad Kariem 3-1 who will be the night’s co-main event. We have a few others we are still negotiating with.
Jose: I think AJ answered it well. One of the things that he left out that is near and dear to my heart is that I want every one of our events to be tied to a charity organization we can help raise money for. For our first event we are going to be working with "Why Me" a local organization here in Worcester that helps children who are battling cancer.
Pattee Mak: I’m looking forward to seeing Gonzalez and Kariem back in the ring. I can’t remember if I’ve seen Andino but maybe at one of the amateur shows.
Pattee Mak: A.J. I know you are the matchmaker, what other roles are the both of you playing in the promotions?
A.J.: I would say we both play whatever role we have to in order to make sure Rivera Promotions Entertainment succeeds. My father’s job is to be the promoter and mine to be the matchmaker, but we would both have no problem playing whatever role we have to in order to make sure our events are successful.
Jose: I agree! Promoter and matchmaker is our title, but we have to make sure we work hard, dot our I's and cross our T's because those who know boxing know that anything can happen even on the night of the fights.
Pattee Mak: Are you looking for fighters to fill in the slot and if so, how can they contact you?
A.J.: Right now we have a pretty full lineup but I'm still willing to see if I can fill slots. We can be contacted by Facebook (AJ Rivera and Jose Antonio Rivera) or email: AnthoneeRivera@Gmail.Com and ElGalloJar@Gmail.com.
Pattee Mak: Are you looking to sign any fighters to a promotional contract?
A.J.: As of right now, we just want to run some successful shows. Keep some of the local boxers active. The long-term goal is to be able to sign the boxers that are happy how we treat them and trust us.
Pattee Mak: There’s only a few boxing promotions in the New England area. Where do you see Rivera Promotions in a few years?
A.J.: In a few years I would love to be having big shows at venues such as Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. I’m looking to eventually expand outside of New England. I want Rivera Promotions Entertainment to be able to grow. Right now we are focusing on our first show, but I also do not want to set limits on the potential of our growth.
Jose: My son is a wise young man. I say we start small do not be afraid to take chances and stay true to who we are. Although I am a promoter now I come from a boxer’s perspective. I want to be able to be fair with the boxers we put on our cards and put them in position to make good money for putting it all on the line when they enter the ring. If they have a following and can sell tickets they will be surprised at how much money they can make just in four and six rounders.
Pattee Mak: This event has to be very special to you. You both are from Worc. and Jose fought at this same location. Can we see one more come back from you?
Jose: No, at 43 years old my time in the ring is over. It was a great ride. I had a lot of fun, the journey was amazing, but there comes a time when it should come to an end. I am actually happy to be in this position as a promoter because now I can give back and help more boxers from my City and all New England boxers who are free agents that are looking to make it big.
Pattee Mak: Thanks so much for the interview. This is an exciting time for the both of you. I can see good things coming your way.
A.J.: Thank you Pattee, I appreciate your support. We both are very excited and I look forward to seeing my dreams finally unfold.
Jose. As always Pattee thank you for your support and we appreciate you taking the time to highlight what we are doing and trying to accomplish in the sport of boxing.
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/197727817344154/.
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