Richard "Popeye the Sailor Man" RiveraGood to finish because he eats his spinachRussell Ki
Colorful light heavyweight prospect Richard "Popeye The Sailor Man" Rivera remained undefeated (5-0, 4 KOs), veteran Roberto "El Viejo" Valenzuela, last night (Sat.) in the "Rumble at The RIM" main event, presented by Granite Chin Promotions, at The RIM Sports Complex in Hampton, New Hampshire. Rivera, fighting out of Hartford (CT), controlled the action from the opening bell against his battle-tested opponent from Mexico, who had a tremendous experience advantage in his 147th pro fight, compared to Rivera's fifth. Valenzuela spent most of the time on the ropes, while Rivera teed-off on him, until a beautiful placed left hook by Rivera decked Valenzuela, who failed to get up until after referee Mike Ryan completed the 10-count. A busload of Rivera's fans drove five hours from Hartford through a snowstorm, arriving just before Rivera entered the ring. "That means a lot to me," Rivera smiled as he spoke about his fans. "We're more than a gym, we're family. "I was so used to an amateur style but now I'm a pro. I'm relaxing and picking my punches. Next, I want to win the New England title. It's vacant and I want it!" "This was our first show in New Hampshire and I consider it a success," co-promoter Chuck Shearns said, "despite some things going against us like tonight's weather. We're grateful for the support we received from Hampton, New Hampshire, the commission and local businesses. They worked with us and we can't wait to return." The son and nephew of multiple-time world kickboxing champions - father Tommy and uncle - worked his corner -- Peabody, MA Russell Kimber had a promising pro debut against tough Nathan Schulte in a match contested at a 185-pound catchweight. The 32-year-old Kimber, who was the crowd favorite having lived several years in New Hampshire, overcame the determined Schulte for a hard-fought victory by way of a four-round majority decision. "I was a little nervous with this being my first time in a pro ring," Kimber admitted after his fight. "I hadn't been in a ring for 1 ½ years and there was some ring rust. Now, I know what I need to good, and I'll be a lot better next fight. This was my first camp and I've learned a lot. I'd like to stay busy, come back in late January, early February." Undefeated Whitman, MA junior welterweight prospect Mike "Bad Man" Ohan, Jr. charged across the ring, unloading a powerful right that immediately sent Bardraiel Smith to the canvas. Smith somehow got to his feet but Ohan quickly ended Smith's night, only 30-second into round one, as referee Ryan waved off the action. New England cruiserweight champion and the show's co-promoter, Iraq War veteran Chris Traietti (25-5, 19 KOs) outclassed Fabian Valdez en route to a win by second-round knockout in a stay-busy fight to close out 2017. In a non-title fight contested at a 185-pounds catchweight, the Quincy, MA-based Traietti floored his game Mexican opponent with a straight right midway through the opening round, closing the show in the second round with a series of unanswered punches. The only New Hampshire native on the card, Claremont junior middleweight Ricky Ford (1-1-1) won his first pro fight, taking a lop-sided, four-round unanimous decision over pro MMA fighter Andy Aiello, who made his pro boxing debut. In another stay-busy fight, former world-rated Ryan "The Polish Prince" Kielczweski (27-3, 9 KOs), fighting out of Quincy (MA), needed only 51-seconds to finish off Mexican lightweight Francisco "El Mono" Medal. Kielczweski hit Medal with a with a lethal left to the body, leaving Medal in obvious pain and unable to rise before the 10-count. New Jersey middleweight Chris "Sandman" Thomas (7-0-1, 4 KOs) kept his unbeaten pro record intact with a second-round stoppage of Demetrius Thomas. Thomas used a rapid-fire combination to drop Thomas, who beat the count, but he was getting hammered when referee Ryan stopped the fight late in the second round.