A top Philly prospect coming out of the amateurs in 2011 Miguel “No Fear” Cartagena, 10-0 (3), knew entering the professional ranks at bantamweight would not be easy obtaining fights. His weight has been at highest 122 and lowest 111.
Cartagena turned professional in March of 2011 at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on the undercard of a Yuriorkis Gamboa’s title defense and future world champion Mikey Garcia’s winning the NABF titles. Cartagena only fought 3 times in both 2011 and 2012. In 2013 it increased to 4 fights while coming under the new management of Mark Cipparone of Club 1957 Management in Blackwood, NJ. Cipparone also manages Tevin “American Idol” Farmer, Eric “Outlaw” Hunter and most recently Teon “The Technician” Kennedy.
“I am very proud that I was chosen by Miguel to be his manager and I take my job and that responsibility very seriously. Miguel has that special pedigree that has world champ written all over it! It is my job to see to it that Miguel continues on that path by making sure that each step we take is in the right direction. Since our first fight together we have been increasing not only the competition but are now fighting 8 rounder’s and will be graduating to 10 rounds by the end of this year. I couldn’t ask to manage a better person as far as the man that he is…but the reality is he is a killer in the ring”, said Cipparone.
From the first time this writer met Cipparone you knew he takes a real interest in his boxers in and out of the ring. When asked about a picture with both him and Cartagena he said “I don’t want to take anything away from Miguel. It’s his story”. Cartagena insisted on one they are together.
In 2009 at age 16 Cartagena won both the National Golden Gloves and the US National Championships. For his accomplishments he received the “Pride of Philadelphia Award” by the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. He boxed amateur out of the Philly Rumblers Gym in North Philly. “I was 147-11 in the US and 11-2 in International boxing (158-13),” said Cartagena.
Cartagena is only 21 and will be having his first 8 rounder on January 25th at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, against Mexico’s Felipe “Panterita” Rivas, 15-15-2 (9). Rivas won his last fight in November stopping his opponent in Mexico. On his record he lost a split decision to future world champion Ivan Calderon in 2011.
Cartagena’s last fight was in December at the same venue where he defeated Mexico’s Eduardo Valenzuela, 5-3-1. Cartagena’s trainer is Raul Rivas at the Gut’s & Glory Gym in West Berlin, NJ, ran by Adrienne Sosa and Rivas. “I started training Miguel about 3 months ago and it has been a very easy transition for him. He fits perfectly with our team and in the short time Miguel has been training with us I have seen a lot of growth. It’s his hard work and dedication that sets him apart from most fighters. That is always a positive sign for me as a trainer to know that I’m training someone who is so committed to his craft. That’s one of the reasons I believe he has greatness in him as a fighter. I have known him and his family since he was a young boy and I am very happy that I have been given the opportunity to train him. He has a very notable amateur career and I know I can take him to the next level and make him a world champion,” said Rivas.
Through his manager Cipparone, Cartagena agreed to a Q&A. We met at the Gut’s & Glory Gym in W. Berlin. KO Jack Obermayer joined me when I told him I’d buy him lunch.
KEN HISSNER: Miguel I have watched you in the amateurs for years and everyone knew you would be an even better professional. How has the change affected you?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: My goals are the same just train harder and longer and also stay more focused.
KEN HISSNER: Your next fight coming up on January 25th at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, will be your first 8 rounder. With only 2 6 rounder’s under your belt how do you feel about going 8?
MIGUEL CARAGENA: 4,6,8,10,12 it’s all the same for me. Train for every condition. It doesn’t bother me.
KEN HISSNER: You are fighting your 11th straight Latino opponent. I think it’s about time you started fighting for the Latino title don’t you?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: Yes, I do think it’s time for a Latin title.
KEN HISSNER: You are now under new management with Mark Cipparone and seem to be much busier. How are things?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: Great! I’m very happy with my activity and the way I’m being moved.
KEN HISSNER: Since coming to the Guts & Glory Gym run by Chino Rivas and Adrienne Soto you have a new trainer in Rivas. How has he benefitted you?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: He changed me in more of a pro style. Calm and smart.
KEN HISSNER: The Gut’s & Glory gym is full of good boxers like Tevin Farmer, Anthony Burgin and Jason Sosa. Though smaller, do you spar with any of them?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: We all benefit from one another.
KEN HISSNER: At what weight do you think you will settle at?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: I’m at 112 for my last fight and can make 108. 105 would be a struggle. My walking around weight is 122 tops.
KEN HISSNER: I look forward to you fighting for a world title some day in the future. When they announce you as champion will it be Miguel “No Fear” Cartagena out of Philly or West Berlin?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: Philly!
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
MIGUEL CARTAGENA: Just want to thank them for all the support and love they show to me.