It is hard to not be a fan of Richard Torrez Jr (5-0, 5 KOs), the 2020 Olympic silver medalist in the super heavyweight division, which we know as the heavyweight division in pro boxing, who seemingly has a smile glued to his face with each human encounter, except for those inside the ring. Promoting his upcoming fight this weekend was no different.
Torrez Jr., returns this Saturday, August 12th, on the ESPN undercard which will see three-division world champion Emanuel Navarrete looking to make his first super featherweight world title defense of his WBO world title, from the Desert Diamond Arena, in Glendale, Arizona, against former two-division world champion, Oscar Valdez on Saturday, August 12th in what is being labeled as potential fight-of-the-year type fight.
Torrez Jr. will be taking on his most seasoned opponent, yet Willie Jake Jr (11-3-2, 3 KOs). Torrez reflected upon how he hopes to leave the viewing public after his fight this weekend.
“I want to be mentioned amongst the [Sugar Ray] Robinson’s, the [Joe] Frazier’s, and the [Joe] Louis’, and those guys who were household names, but people love them,” told Richard Torrez Jr to ProBox TV News. “They didn’t just love them, because they were fighters, they loved them because of their persona, because of how they were able to talk outside of the ring. They loved them, because of what they did for people. It was a different scene. It was ‘oh, this an athlete, that is okay as a person,’ it was ‘this guy is amazing, he is a really cool guy.’ That is something I am trying to work toward, the old-school boxer, who everyone kind of knew.”
Now comes the hot-button issue since this Saturday, the Dillian Whyte performance-enhancing drug test failure has been the talk of the heavyweight division, as for now, it has left boxing superstar, Anthony Joshua without an opponent for August 12th. Torrez, who has competed at the highest level of amateur boxing, and now is a world-class boxer signed with a promotional juggernaut in Top Rank Inc. Torrez gave his thoughts on the issue of PEDs which seem to be plaguing sports in general.
As for his opponent on Saturday, Jake Jr. is an experienced veteran of the sport, who has been in the ring with Frank Sanchez, probably the most underrated heavyweight in boxing, Jermaine Franklin, a man who has been in some big fights recently, and Stephan Shaw, the most confusing heavyweight in recent memory. The downside for Jake is all three of those fights he was stopped meaning all three of his losses have come by way of stoppage. That being said, Jake has gone 74 rounds as a professional and is riding a three-fight win streak after getting a draw with an undefeated fighter in Rashid Akzhigitov.
“[Wille Jake Jr] has a winning record,” reflected Torrez Jr to ProBox TV News. “I think this fight is a great [step in the direction] I am trying to go in."
For those unaware Torrez has five professional fights, but has only been in the ring for eight total rounds as a professional. When asked about gaining more ring time Torrez gave his take on his current amount of ring time.
“Yes, there is a need to [go] longer [into these fights], there is also the side [of me] you don’t see in training camp going these longer rounds,” Torrez told ProBox TV News on Monday morning phone call. “I am very confident in my abilities of conditioning, very confident in my training, and if I see the opportunity [to end the fight] I am going to take it. I am not going to sit there and wait for [my opponent] to recover so I can go longer rounds.”
Torrez was supposed to fight on March 25th as he was making a quick turnaround after knocking out James Bryant in the same arena he is fighting in on Saturday with a first-round technical knockout. Torrez Jr., was set to return on March 25th as part of the televised TV undercard of local Central Valley California star, Jose Ramirez taking on former world champion, Richard Commey. That was until Torrez suffered a hand injury that kept him sidelined for six months.
“[Recovering from this injury] has been [a] new [experience],” said Torrez Jr. “You don’t get injuries too often in this sport, or you try not to. I just have been very focused on recovery as well as my training. The warm-ups, the cool-downs, the ice baths, the cryotherapy, a lot of these things I might have been kind of lax on beforehand, I am taking very [seriously] now, and it is paying dividends."
As for Torrez Jr.'s goals in the sport at the present moment. It appears one thing is what matters to him being the best modern heavyweight - until that is accomplished his life is undefined.
“I need to prove that I am the best before I can have a conversation with myself about what I would do after boxing,” said Torrez Jr. “That is what I am working towards. I am not working towards a check, or anything like that. I am working towards me being able to say I am on top of the [heavyweight division]. I came close in the amateur divisions, and I fell a little short, and that is why I am working really hard right now. I want to prove to myself and prove to everybody that the support that they have had is not in vain, and that I will show you that I am the best.”