By Robert Quijano
The Casino Metro in the Sheraton Hotel at the Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico was the site of today’s press conference where PR Best Boxing Promotions announced their new boxing event series to take place at the Hotel. The first event will be July 21st 2017 with subsequent events scheduled for September and November of this year.
On July 21st Amanda Serrano (32-1-1 with 24 KOs) will be the main event as she defends her 122 lb. WBO title against Argentinean Lucia Soledad Griffa (13-1 with 1 KO). Jonathan Oquendo (26-5 with 16 KOs) who has not fought since December 2015 will fight for a regional WBO title against undefeated Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1 with 13 KOs) in the co-main event. 2 time Puerto Rican Olympian Jeyvier Cintron will be fighting in his 2nd professional bout but this time in front of his home crowd in Puerto Rico. The card will contain 7 total bouts and prices/ticket outlets will be announced in the days to come as well as television coverage (WAPA 2 is expected to air the card). Peter and Ivan Rivera return to promoting and helping to build Champions after a 2 year absence.
Ivan Rivera began the conference announcing the events and the collaboration with Casino Metro. Peter then took to the podium and explained the details of the events. After the CFO of Casino Metro spoke very briefly, Ivan introduced the Casino’s General Manager Ismael Vega. Ismael told the Rivera brothers that in the last several months they have coordinated many musical shows at the Casino and there may not be a need to keep the boxing series for every other month as mentioned. Ismael continued that they look forward to a long collaboration. Next up to the podium was WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel who welcomed Amanda and her trainer Jordan Maldonado back to Puerto Rico. Valcarcel thanked Casino Metro and spoke briefly of the three boxers present. Valcarcel told Ismael also that he would not be surprised to see a Convention there in the future. Following Valcarcel was former Champion and current Boxing Commissioner Luvi Callejas. Callejas was brief, thanked Casino Metro, and advised that whatever was needed, he was there.
Jeyvier Cintron was the first boxer introduced and as he approached the podium he stated in Spanish, “Let’s begin to joke around” then to everyone’s surprise Jeyvier began speaking in English. Jeyvier said, “Thank you everybody for coming here to the conference. First I want to thank Peter Rivera for the opportunity. For Casino Metro, for old people to colorate to me (giggles)…” Jeyvier then began to speak in Spanish, “We’re practicing, little by little. Little by little we’ve broken the ice (Jeyvier again thanks Casino Metro and everyone present). We’re real anxious to represent and fight here in front of my people. I’ve waited a long time for this…Wow, to fight in my Island. Thank God I’ve already had my debut but it was outside of my Island. Everything was a success. Keep in mind that we are going to work hard to impress the Boricua fans because you know how we are here. What matters is that there will be the heat of the Boricuas. May it be a success. We are going to give our all for Puerto Rico. Thank you for coming.”
Next up to the podium was Jonathan Oquendo. The first thing Oquendo said was “No Speaky English.” The crowd laughed. Oquendo continued, “First off Thank God for the opportunity and to the press. Without you no one would know who we are. To Paquito, to Peter and Ivan of PR Best Boxing who have always had confidence in me and gave me great opportunities. God hasn’t wanted me to be World Champion yet but that’s what life is about, opportunities and here we are. I had told Peter that I wanted to retire at 35 years old but if there’s a title or new opportunities like I know he will find, well here we are. Now I’ll be fighting an undefeated fighter, a warrior and that’s what I like. Go to war so all the fans will have a good impression of me. Come out with my hand raised, that’s what’s important and that me and my opponent come out in good health. It’s been 4-5 years since I’ve fought here in Puerto Rico and I’m nervous, anxious but trying to control that. We’re training hard. Many say that fighting a fighter like this after not fighting for a year and a half…I want to make this clear. After being in the gym 24/7…Amanda knows, those things won’t matter in the ring. Thank you and God bless you.”
Amanda Serrano was introduced and she struggled a bit with the Spanish stating, “Jeyvier showed me English but they know. First off Thank God and all of you. The Rivera brothers, Casino Metro, the WBO will my heart and also to my promoter Lou DiBella for this great opportunity. I’m ready….I’m ready for whatever she brings. I’m real happy. I’m at my home. This is my Island. I do anything I can for my people of Puerto Rico and those titles are mine. Moving forward, I want the 6th one at 140. I want to keep being a great champion for all of you, for Puerto Rico. Thank you everyone and this will be a great night with great boxers. Thank you everyone.”
The conference ended after the fighters posed for pictures. The Rivera brothers promise to bring competitive and exciting fights with this series and I’m looking forward to it.