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Michel Rivera News
What was considered a 50-50 clash beforehand turned into a one-sided affair as the undefeated Martin hands Rivera his first loss Saturday night in a PBC main event on SHOWTIME.
Fight fans are getting an early Holiday gift in the form of one of the best matchups of 2022 as unbeaten lightweights Michel Rivera and Frank Martin throw down Saturday night in a PBC main event on SHOWTIME.
Rivera implies that he is levels above Frank Martin ahead of their showdown Saturday, December 17 on PBC on SHOWTIME. Plus, more on the return of Gervonta "Tank" Davis.
Michel Rivera Fights
Loss vs Frank Martin 18-0-0
Dec 17, 2022 • The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Michel Rivera LOSES to Frank Martin by UD in Round 12 of 12
Win vs Jerry Perez 13-0-0
Oct 15, 2022 • Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Jerry Perez by UD in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Joseph Adorno 14-0-2
Mar 26, 2022 • Armory, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Joseph Adorno by UD in Round 10 of 10
Win vs Jose Matias Romero 24-1-0
Oct 30, 2021 • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Jose Matias Romero by UD in Round 10 of 10
Win vs Jon Fernandez 21-1-0
Jul 03, 2021 • Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
Michel Rivera WINS against Jon Fernandez by KO in Round 8 of 12
Win vs Anthony Mercado Raices 13-4-0
Feb 27, 2021 • Shrine Exposition Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Anthony Mercado Raices by KO in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Ladarius Miller 21-2-0
Oct 31, 2020 • Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Ladarius Miller by UD in Round 10 of 10
Win vs Fidel Maldonado Jr 27-4-1
Feb 01, 2020 • Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Fidel Maldonado Jr by TKO in Round 10 of 10
Win vs Jose Gallegos 20-12-0
Sep 21, 2019 • Rabobank Theater, Bakersfield, California, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Jose Gallegos by RTD in Round 5 of 8
Win vs Juan Rene Tellez 13-0-0
Jun 21, 2019 • WinnaVegas Casino & Resort, Sloan, Iowa, USA
Michel Rivera WINS against Juan Rene Tellez by UD in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Carlos Daniel Cordoba 10-4-0
Jan 26, 2019 • Radisson Victoria Plaza, Montevideo, Uruguay
Michel Rivera WINS against Carlos Daniel Cordoba by TKO in Round 2 of 8
Win vs Yankiel Leon 12-0-0
Jul 16, 2018 • Hotel Jaragua, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Yankiel Leon by TKO in Round 8 of 10
Win vs Jampier Oses 12-1-1
Feb 24, 2018 • Club Mauricio Baez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Jampier Oses by TKO in Round 7 of 8
Win vs Manuel Botis 23-1-1
Dec 22, 2017 • Los Prados Social Club, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Manuel Botis by UD in Round 8 of 8
Win vs Luis Ernesto Jose 33-21-2
Sep 14, 2017 • Hotel Jaragua, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Luis Ernesto Jose by TKO in Round 2 of 8
Win vs Luis Rosa 9-9-0
Jun 24, 2017 • Hotel Jaragua, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Luis Rosa by TKO in Round 1 of 6
Win vs Marco Acevedo 10-0-0
May 22, 2017 • Club el Millon, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Marco Acevedo by UD in Round 10 of 10
Win vs Luis Nino 7-4-0
Dec 16, 2016 • Maunoloa Night Club y Casino, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Luis Nino by TKO in Round 4 of 8
Win vs Juan Rafael Polanco 4-2-0
Sep 23, 2016 • Salon de Eventos P. C. Sambil, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Juan Rafael Polanco by UD in Round 6 of 6
Win vs Juan Carlos Contreras 2-37-2
Jun 11, 2016 • Coliseo Pedro Julio Nolasco, La Romana, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Juan Carlos Contreras by UD in Round 4 of 4
Win vs Aneurys Mesa Rodriguez 5-42-1
May 26, 2016 • Parque del Este, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Aneurys Mesa Rodriguez by TKO in Round 1 of 6
Win vs Dionisio Rodriguez 0-39-0
Apr 17, 2016 • Gimnasio Pedro Cruz, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Dionisio Rodriguez by TKO in Round 2 of 4
Win vs Jose Vidal Sanchez 4-40-0
Apr 09, 2016 • Club Maquiteria, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Jose Vidal Sanchez by UD in Round 4 of 4
Win vs Eduardo Juan 0-9-0
Apr 02, 2016 • Club el Millon, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Eduardo Juan by TKO in Round 2 of 4
Win vs Luis Vazquez Ogando 0-19-0
Mar 19, 2016 • Gimnasio Pedro Cruz, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Luis Vazquez Ogando by TKO in Round 4 of 4
Win vs Gregory Estevez 0-19-0
Mar 19, 2016 • Gimnasio Pedro Cruz, Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
Michel Rivera WINS against Gregory Estevez by TKO in Round 3 of 4
Michel Rivera Bio
Lightweight contender Michel Rivera is the latest boxer from the Dominican Republic to make waves in the sport. The smooth-boxing Rivera carries the nickname "La Zarza Ali" due to his slick style and uncanny resemblance to Muhammad Ali.
Baseball’s Loss Is Boxing’s Gain
Michel Rivera was born in Santo Domingo of The Dominican Republic, which, after the United States, has the second-highest number of players in Major League Baseball.
Rivera’s God-fearing parents, Miguel and Miguelina, sought that sport for their son, hoping to divert their teenager’s attention from the lure and influence of street-fighting neighborhood friends.
But an overweight Rivera despised baseball, preferring the pugilistic violence of the Sweet Science even as the squared circle defied his family’s Christian faith.
“My mom and dad let me box, and I hated baseball anyway,” said Rivera, who first entered the ring as a 14-year-old. “I’ve loved boxing ever since I had that first fight in the street. I believe I was born ready to box, and you can say baseball’s loss is boxing’s gain.”
Rivera went 20-3 (17 knockouts) as an amateur and felt as if he was actually undefeated given his trio of controversial losses.
“Michel is a centered young man whose parents deserve credit for raising him right,” said trainer Herman Caicedo, whose eight-dormitory Sports Training Center in Miami, Florida, allows him to monitor Rivera and other fighters. “Michel believes it was political why he lost three times as an amateur because he wasn’t training with the popular coaches and chose a not so well-known outsider to work with.”
An 18-year-old Rivera made his professional debut in March 2016, his third-round TKO of Gregory Estevez being his first of eight consecutive victories (five knockouts) that year between 130- and 137- pounds.
Rivera fought thrice in April, squeezing a four-round unanimous decision between a pair of second-round TKOs, the latter halting Dionisio Rodriguez for his fourth win. Rivera’s fifth and swiftest triumph was May’s 95-second stoppage of Aneudy Mesa, and his seventh and longest was September’s six-round unanimous decision over Juan Rafael Polanco.
“Michel’s a throwback who is very calm in the ring. He had no problems with the frequency of his first eight fights,” said Caicedo. “Michel is listed at 5-foot-8, but he’s actually closer to 6-foot and can fight in the future at junior welter or at welterweight. I have no doubt he’ll be a world champion once he gets an opportunity.”
Rivera went 4-0 (2 KOs) in 2017, sandwiching first- and second-round TKOs in June and September between 10- and eight-round unanimous decisions over Marcos Acevedo (May) and Manuel Botis (December).
Rivera continued to overcome solid opposition in 2018 with seventh- and eighth-round TKOs over Jampier Oses (February) and Yankiel Leon (July). Oses entered at 12-1-1 (10 KOs), and Leon at 12-0 (9 KOs).
“I feel good every time I’m fighting, and Acevedo and Botis were very tough opponents. But I knew I’d have to go the distance at some point, so it was good for me to do it against guys with records like that,” said Rivera.
“Obviously winning is always great, but I’m always working for a satisfying knockout. So it felt great to get back to that against Oses and Leon, using my skills to adjust to what they brought to the table and demonstrating that I’m not a one-dimensional fighter.”
In 2019, Rivera went 3-0 (2 KOs) comprising January’s second-round TKO of Carlos Daniel Cordoba, June’s eight-round unanimous decision over then-unbeaten René Téllez Girón (13-0, 7 KOs coming in) in his U.S. debut in Sloan, Iowa, and September’s fifth-round stoppage of Jose Luis Gallegos.
Rivera vanquished a pair of more experienced southpaws in 2020 with February’s 10th-round stoppage of Fidel Maldonado Jr. and October’s 10-round unanimous decision over Ladarius Miller. Rivera’s lone fight of 2020 was February’s eighth-round knockout of hard-hitting Raíces, who entered at 13-4 (11 KOs) with a two-fight winning streak.
Rivera sized up Maldanado (27-5-1, 20 KOs) with a flicking jab and pinpoint shots to the head and body. An overhand right flush on Maldonado’s jaw buckled and dropped him before he rose to absorb a follow-up volley that forced the referee’s stoppage.
Busier overall in his next bout against Miller (21-2, 6 KOs), Rivera alternately landed hard body shots on the way to winning a toe-to-toe clash and the previously vacant 135-pound USBA lightweight title.
“Maldonado and Miller were two good victories,” said Rivera. “Miller was the bigger win because of how slick he was with only one loss.”
Rivera is inching closer to a world title shot. On July 3, 2021, he took another step up in class when he faced veteran Jon Fernandez at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Fernandez entered the bout with a 21-1 record, with 18 of those victories by knockout. He flashed that power in the sixth when, well-behind the cards, he scored a flash knockdown on Rivera.
Rivera bounced back to show his own prodigious power. A beautiful right hand in the eighth round put Fernandez away for good.
“I’m so excited and beyond happy to get this win,” said Rivera afterward. “Fernández was a strong, experienced opponent that forced me to change the game plan I had going in.”
Rivera followed up that impressive win with another, easily outpointing the tough Jose Matias Ramiro over 10 rounds on October 30, 2021, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. All three judges had Rivera winning every round.
Rivera has earned the nickname “La Zarza Ali” for his uncanny resemblance to the great Muhammad Ali and his smooth-boxing style.
ACING THE EXAMS
On March 26, 2022, Rivera moved to 23-0 (14 KOs) with a unanimous decision victory over the previously unbeaten Joseph Adorno (14-1-2, 12 KOs) in their lightweight showdown.
The bout was tense throughout, with neither fighter able to fully control the action or significantly hurt their opponent. Rivera’s jab was the key to his success, as he landed 72 to Adorno’s 30 across the 10 rounds.
“That was four months of practicing in camp,” said Rivera. “I feel so good. I was looking for the knockout, but that undefeated guy is tough. I know him. He’s a power-puncher, but the aggression that ‘Ali’ has is too much. I have a good corner. A great trainer in Herman Caicedo and also Jukka Toivola. But I have talent and I made the sacrifice.”
Rivera was consistent with the jab, throwing at least 30 in every round, on his way to a 104 to 67 overall edge in total punches landed. He also held Adorno to a 20% connect rate on his 330 punches and out landed his opponent in all but one round. After 10 rounds, all three judges saw the fight the same, scoring the action 97-93 in favor of Rivera.
“Everybody now knows me,” said Rivera. “I say that I am the reincarnation of Muhammad Ali because I work so hard. I’m definitely ready for a world title shot.”
Rivera notched another impressive victory on October 15, 2022, when he outpointed Jerry Perez over eight rounds, punctuating the dominant performance by dropping Perez with seconds remaining in the final round.
However, he would suffer his first pro loss in his next bout, dropping a 12-round unanimous decision to undefeated Frank Martin in December 2022.