WBA #8 cruiserweight Constantin Bejenaru says he’s ready to go in and do the job he set out to do when he started boxing.
Bejenaru (14-0, 4 KOs) will challenge WBA cruiserweight champion Arsen Goulamirian (25-0, 17 KOs) on December 28 at the Palais Des Sport in Marseille, France.
“I have been working my entire career for this opportunity,” said Bejenaru, “…the chance to win a world title; the chance to show myself on the biggest stage with the highest stakes.”
A tricky southpaw from Ungheni, in the Republic of Moldova and now living in Brooklyn, Bejenaru was a 10-time Romanian champion, a Bronze Medalist at the European Amateur Boxing Championships in 2006, a Finalist in the European Union Championships in both 2006 and 2007, and a Gold Medalist at World Combat Games in 2010.
After turning professional in 2012, Bejenaru went on to score wide decision victories on ShoBox: The New Generation over previously undefeated Alexey Zubov (10-0, 6 KOs) and Stivens Bujaj (16-0-1, 11 KOs), as well as a decisive points victory over previous world title challenger Thabiso Mchunu (18-3, 11 KOs).
Bejenaru’s career was stalled for nearly two years by what he called “promotional problems,” but he is now realizing his dream fight in just his second under the Salita promotional banner.
“I love the sport of boxing. I am always working to develop my craft, my skills, my fitness and my mind. It is ultimately the mind that makes a champion. The intelligence and creativity that are necessary to succeed in the ring. The mental discipline that allows a boxer to persevere at the hardest moments.
Goulamirian recently defended his belt for the first time by KO 4 over Australia’s Kane Watts on November 15 in Paris.
“Goulamirian has made a mistake taking this fight against a fighter of Constantin Bejenaru’s caliber so quickly after first defense,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “Constantin has incredibly high boxing intelligence and he’s been waiting for this fight his entire life. I look forward to having a new world champion in the Salita Promotions stable.”
New England’s most powerful puncher and one of the area’s most popular pro boxers, undefeated RICHIE “POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN” RIVERA (15-0, 12 KOs), returns to the ring Friday, December 13 on “New England Explosion”, presented by JOE DEGUARDIA’S STAR BOXING, at MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“New England Explosion,” sponsored by MGM Springfield, will air live for the first time on New England Sports Network (NESN), starting at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. The home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, NESN is available nationally on a sports subscription basis.
Rivera will be fighting near his Hartford, Connecticut home (25-minute drive) for the first time in 1 ½ years. The charismatic Rivera, whose “Popeye” persona has endeared him to fans everywhere, has already fought six times in 2019, expanding his growing fans base in Mexico, Florida, and New York (two fights in each), plus North Carolina.
“I’m thrilled to be fighting in my backyard again,” Rivera said. “To get the job done I take each fight like it’s my hardest. I feel like this will be an exciting victory for me.”
“I believe that I’ll be just as busy in 2020 as I’ve been this year. I want to keep fighting a lot for fans to think of me as one of the most active fighters in the game.”
Rivera will take on cruiserweight “MIGHTY” JOE JONES (11-1, 8 KOs), fighting out of Leesburg, Virginia, in the 8-round, co-featured event. Rivera was able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, because he’s fighting as a full-fledged cruiserweight (200 lbs.), rather than in his natural 175-pound light heavyweight division, or the 185-pound catchweight he’s fought at so many times.
“I’m going up in weight,” he noted, “so I didn’t have to hold back on turkey. I figure that the light heavyweight division is slowly picking up, but that the cruiserweight division is on a dying cycle. I’m going to make a name at cruiserweight before dropping down to my regular weight (light heavyweight) and I can out-punch any light heavyweight. I’ll continue to train hard and eat well, as always, but still bring my power to cruiserweight.
“This is a huge fight for Richie,” his head trainer TONY BLANCO commented. “Fighting a good, quality opponent who is a natural cruiserweight will be his toughest test to date. Jones is a solid pro, young (24), and he packs a good punch. An impressive victory for Richie will open doors for him to make a big splash in 2020. We’re right there at the door.
“I think Richie will be able to climb the ladder (ratings) faster as a cruiserweight than light heavyweight. He’s going to bring excitement to the cruiserweight division and make his mark there before easily going back to light heavyweight.”
“Richie Rivera is an exciting prospect and I look forward to his fight on December 13 that the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. The fans are in for an exciting fight in the ring, and his ‘Popeye’ persona is also entertaining”, stated JOE DEGUARDIA, President of Star Boxing.
The Rivera vs. Jones bout will be co-promoted by Hartford Boxing Promotions, which is owned and operated by Rivera, Blanco and MICHAEL TRAN.
Blanco and Rivera agree that “Popeye” has gained invaluable experience sparring the past year with his stablemate and one of the many stars of Star Boxing, union worker and former WBC International light heavyweight champion JOE SMITH, JR. (Mastic Beach, Long Island, 24-3, 20 KOs), who is training for his January 11thshowdown in Atlantic City versus JESSE HART(26-2, 21 KOs) on ESPN.
“I love working with Joe,” Rivera added. “He has tremendous power. Joe’s a light heavyweight who definitely has pop. If I can take Joe’s punches, I can’t think of a better way for me to get ready to fight a good cruiserweight. Every time I spar with Joe – right now, about once a week – it’s a learning experience for me.”
Talented Raza Hamza is desperate to start making up for lost time when he returns to action on December 20.
The Birmingham featherweight (13-0-1, 6 KOs) is back in business on the #MTKFightNight in Bolton – live on iFL TV – and having endured an injury-enforced break, he’s eager to tee up a breakout 2020.
Hamza said: “I’m excited to be back fighting. I know the exposure MTK Global is gaining is big. For me, that’s one thing I know I’ll have a lot of once I’m back.
“I last fought in May in an eight-rounder and I came through with flying colours. I was then meant to fight in Spain back in August but had to withdraw due to injuries.
“2020 will be my breakout year. No ifs, no buts. I’m coming to break every door in my way down and I’ll be giving it my all.
“Whoever MTK Global want me to face, if it makes sense, I’ll take it. I’m ready. I’m good to go. I need to be the best. I must be the best. That’s no disrespect to anyone but boxing is my life and it’s my future.”
Hamza recorded two clinical points victories earlier in the year – including a landslide win over Elvis Guillen in his first eight-rounder.
Joining Hamza on a stacked bill at the University of Bolton Stadium are the likes of Ross Cooksey, Sahir Iqbal, Macaulay McGowan, Muhammad Ali Zahid, Blane Hyland, Pierce O’Leary, Paddy Donovan, Mike McGoldrick and more.
Former British light-heavyweight king Hosea Burton is fully revved up for this weekend’s #GoldenContract quarter-finals.
‘The Hammer’ (24-1, 11 KOs) takes his place in the eight-man tournament that kicks off at the Brentwood Centre on December 14 – broadcast live on Sky Sports in the UK in association with Matchroom Boxing and on ESPN+ in the US in association with Top Rank.
As he gears up for his second fight of the year, Burton is ready to unleash the frustration of being avoided by the big names.
Burton said: “Winning this tournament would put my career back to where it should have been three years ago, so this is a must-win tournament.
“This will put me where I need to be. I’ve been ducked and avoided for three years now and this will be big for me.
“It’s exciting now the line-up is complete and I just can’t wait for it all to happen. It’s not an easy tournament because there are a few dangerous names in there, but I’m more than capable of winning it.
“At the end of this tournament, there’s a huge contract. What lies beyond this tournament for me will be big nights and world title fights either here or in America.
“That’s what I want out of this and that’s what’s going to happen.”