Tuluyang lumikha ng pangalan si Al Rivera sa international boxing community nang pabagsakin ang dating world rated na si Shingo Iwabuchi ng Japan sa ikapitong round para makopo ang bakanteng OPBF (Orient-Pacific Boxing Federation) super lightweight title, kamakailan sa Korakuen Hall sa Tokyo.
“An unheralded and unknown Filipino youngster named Al Rivera (15-2, 13 KOs), 140, stunned the crowd on Thursday at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan, where he seized the vacant OPBF super-lightweight belt by a unexpectedly lopsided stoppage of ex-Japanese national titlist Shingo Iwabuchi (26-6-1, 22 KOs), 140, at 1:25 of the seventh round in a scheduled twelve,” ayon sa ulat ng Fightnews.com.
“It was third-time unlucky for Iwabuchi, formerly national champ having defended three times, to have failed to win the OPBF belt on as many occasions as he lost to Korean Min-Wook Kim on points in 2013 and was flattened by compatriot Keita Obara in the twelfth and final canto in 2014,” ayon pa sa ulat.
“Obara had renounced the regional belt in order to pursue the IBF world throne after he battled to a hard-fought draw with Walter Castillo in Miami, Florida, last November, and his previous victim thus participated in the OPBF title go for the vacant championship.”
Sa pagwawagi, inaasahang papasok sa WBC rankings si Rivera para maging kontender ni Victor Postol ng Ukraine, dating ka-stable ni Pambansang Kamao Manny Pacquiao sa Wild Card Gym ni Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Pinatunayan din ni Rivera na hindi tsamba ang pagwawagi niya via 1st round knockout kay Philippine light welterweight champion Adones Cabalquinto noong Nobyembre. (gilbert espeña)