SAO PAULO, Brazil (March 25, 2011) – Somebody’s “O” had to go in tonight’s Brazilian-Argentinean showdown between unbeaten prospects, as Michael “The Brazilian Rocky” Oliveira’s rising popularity in his native country continued to grow with his 10-round unanimous decision victory against a game Abel Nicolas “El Principito” Adriel, headlining the “International Boxing Challenge” pro-am event at Mauro Pinheiro Gymnasium in Sao Paulo.
The 20-year-old Oliveira (14-0, 11 KOs), rated No. 10 by the USBA, captured the Interim World Boxing Council Latino Super Middleweight Championship, defeating (98-92, 98-92, 97-93) previously undefeated Adriel (10-1-2, 2 KOs) in front of a spirited, partisan crowd.
“International Boxing Challenge,” presented by MO Productions, aired live on TV Globo Network, SporTV cable, GloboEsporte and TV Globo International.
Brazilians and Argentineans are traditional arch-rivals in sports and the 21-year-old Adriel, who fights out of Buenos Aires, was a natural foe for the hard-punching Oliveira. The extremely active Adriel is a consummate boxer who has now had 13 fights in only 14 months as a professional.
“He changed his style,” Oliveira said after the fight. “I usually fight on the inside but he fought on the inside, and I had to fight on the outside. My performance was sufficient to win and put smiles on the faces of the fans here tonight, but I’m not smiling. I know I’m 100 times better than I showed. I knew he didn’t have any power and he liked to work the body, but he didn’t go to the body as much as I had expected. When he started protecting himself downstairs, I went back upstairs at the end of the fight. It was a fight of adjustments.”
Oliveira, the repeat winner of the Brazilian International Press Award’s Athlete of the Year (2009 and 2010), was born in Sao Paulo but he moved two weeks after birth to Miami with his family. He made his Brazilian debut last November, stopping Junior Ramos in the third round, and remains committed to re-establishing boxing in Brazil.
“I think the people here in Brazil have put me on a pedestal but I’m really not there, yet,” Oliveira noted. “This fight was a valuable learning experience for me. I got sidetracked, expecting one thing from him, and I getting something else. You know, it was like at Christmas when you expect a ball but get a doll. He was tough and I’ll be better because of this fight.”
Oliveira expects to return to the ring once again in Sao Paulo in late May or early June.
Brazil’s last superstar boxer, 4-time world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas, was in attendance supporting Oliveira.
“This was a very structured event and an incredible project,” Freitas commented. “Michael is very humble and calm in the ring. I flew two hours from my home to support him and what MO Productions is doing for boxing in Brazil.”