Michel Rivera has spent most of the year pushing for a title shot or a major fight.
For now, the unbeaten lightweight contender will settle for a stay-busy affair.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that Rivera will return to the ring on October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. His likely opponent will be Jerry Perez, pending approval from the New York State Athletic Commission for a fight that will come in support of the Fox Sports/Fite TV Pay-Per-View portion of the evening.
Headlining the show, former longtime WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder (42-2-1, 41KOs) will face resurgent contender Robert Helenius (31-3, 20KOs) in a scheduled 12-round WBC semifinal eliminator. Rivera will likely appear on the FS1 portion of the show preceding the PPV card.
Rivera (23-0, 14KOs)—an unbeaten Dominican fighter who lives and trains in Miami—has been angling for a shot at secondary WBA lightweight titlist Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis (27-0, 25KOs). Both fight under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner, and Rivera—who is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz—was led to believe he was in the title mix following a seventh-round stoppage of Jon Fernandez in their title eliminator last July in Carson, California.
The win over Fernandez came at a time when the interim WBA lightweight title was still in existence, though the belt was since removed from circulation. Davis appears to be on another path at the moment, while undisputed WBA ‘Super’/WBC/IBF/WBO champ Devin Haney (28-0, 15KOs) will next face George Kambosos in a rematch also scheduled for October 15 (US time) at Rod Laver Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
That leaves Rivera to accept opportunities that at least keep him in the ring rather than on the sidelines. His upcoming fight with Perez (14-1, 11KOs) will come nearly seven months after his most recent win, a ten-round decision over then-unbeaten Joseph Adorno on a March 26 Showtime card from The Armory in Minneapolis.
Perez suffered his lone career defeat to another PBC lightweight, suffering a seventh-round stoppage at the hands of Frank Martin last April 20 in Los Angeles. The 29-year-old from Oak Hills, California has since rebounded with a fifth-round stoppage of unbeaten Erick Lanzas Jr. on the non-televised undercard of the Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano Showtime-headlining rematch on May 14 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Rivera’s placement on the Wilder-Helenius card marks his first career fight in New York, and ninth straight in the U.S.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox