MIAMI (Mar. 27, 2010) – A Brazilian boxer is the new unbeaten middleweight boxing sensation, Michael Oliveira known as the “Chairman of the Board” with 11-0, 9 KOs, has been selected as the winner of the Brazilian International Press Award’s 2009 Athlete of the Year Award.
Michael Oliveira is only 19 years old, a student at Miami Dade Community College and lives in Miami. Many in the Brazilian boxing circles believe that he is the heir apparent to retired boxing legend Acelino “Popo” Freitas. From a group of only 10 nominated Brazilian athletes, Michael was the leading vote-getter which included Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, as well as NBA players Nene Hilario and Anderson Varejao.
“I was honored just to be nominated, never mind selected, as the winner of this prestigious award,” Oliveira said. “I’d like to thank all my fans for supporting me with their votes. I represent all of the Brazilians living back home as well as those in the United States. Brazil is always No. 1 in my heart. We take all sports, especially boxing, serious but no matter what the final results, it always ends with Samba music and partying. I’m only 19 and hopefully I can win this award again for years to come.”
The hard-hitting teenager, who is the reigning UNBC Latin champion, won every one of his eight fights last year, and he hopes to be back in the ring in late April.
Since the wildly popular Freitas, 4-time world champion, hung-up his gloves for the final time nearly two years ago there has been a distinct vacuum in Brazilian boxing. It appears that 19-year-old Oliveira is being set-up to replace Freitas in the minds of passionate Brazilian boxing fans in South America as well as those in the United States.
Oliveira, who lives and fights out of Miami, is different than most other professional boxers who generally rise from an underpriveledged background. Oliveira was raised in an affluent family, had all the beneifits his parents were able to provide and is currently attending Miami Dade Community College.
Oliveira’s interest in boxing is almost hereditary. His grandfather, Joao Oliveira, an amateur boxer sparred a few times with Brazil’s all-time greatest boxer, 3-time world bantamweight and featherweight champion Eder “Golden Bantam” Jofre (72-2-4, 50 KOs/1957-1976).