Americans Duke Ragan And Richard Torrez Will Medal At Tokyo Olympics
A dramatic Sunday afternoon at the year delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics for USA men’s boxing concluded with two split decision wins for Featherweight Duke Ragan and Super Heavyweight Richard Torrez. And now, both are assured of at least a Bronze medal, having reached the semi-finals.
Up first at the Kokugikan Arena was the Ohio-native Ragan, who battled Ireland’s Kurt Walker mid-day Sunday in the quarterfinal round.
Ragan jumped on the Irishman in round one scoring effectively with the jab and a good left hand with less than :30 remaining and won the round on three of the judges cards. Then, in round two Walker’s cut over his right eye that he suffered in his round of 16 win began to bleed, again.
The 22 year old Ragan, who turned pro while the 2020 Tokyo games were in limbo and won four fights before being allowed to come back and compete, was impressive in the second round scoring a couple of combinations and jabbing at Walker’s bleeding eye. The referee had the ringside doctor look at the eye midway through the round, but the fight continued.
Ragan led officially on two of the cards by two points and was tied on the other three cards headed to the third, meaning that he would only need the round on one of theirs to win the fight. Ragan was impressive again in the final round and got the Lithuanian judge to vote his way in the end for a 29-28 verdict. It was all he needed for the split-decision.
Ragan became the first American male to advance to the semis in theses Olympics and therefore, guarantee at least a Bronze medal at the 2020 games. He will now fight Ghana’s Samuel Takyi in the semi-finals on Tuesday afternoon in Tokyo. With a win, Ragan is guaranteed no worse than the Silver, which would be the first at Featherweight since Ricardo Juarez got one at the 2000 Sydney games.
And, he will be looking for the first Gold at Featherweight, which has not happened since Meldrick Taylor won it at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Later Sunday afternoon, Super Heavyweight Torrez of California joined Ragan, as having assured at least a Bronze medal. That’s when he rallied to upset the 2019 Pan Am Games Gold Medalist, Dainier Pero of Cuba on a 4-1 decision.
Pero, who beat Torrez in the semis of those Pan Am Games, was more aggressive in the first round and took it on four of the five judges cards. But, Torrez began to score frequently in the second and Pero looked to be almost taking the round off. Torrez then had to have the doctor look at a small cut over his left eye.
Torrez was allowed to continue and connected with a right hand just before the round two bell clearly winning that round on all five cards, officially.
Then, in the dramatic third round, Torrez was more aggressive and Pero seemed tired, even in the opening minute. Both fighters were tired and mauling in the last minute, but Torrez sccored a left to the body and later a right to the head.
In the end after the dramatic pause, Torrez, who is the USA men’s captain, was announced the winner to move him in the final four of the tournament. It was Cuba’s first loss of the 2020 Olympics in boxing stopping their 13 fight win streak.
Torrez will now face Kamshybek Kunkabayev of Kazakhstan on Wednesday knowing he will get no worse than Bronze. The last U.S. Fighter to get any medal at Super Heavyweight is Riddick Bowe (Silver) in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the only Gold medal was four years earlier, when Tyrell Biggs won it in Los Angeles.
American Gold Medal hopeful Lightweight Keyshawn Davis will fight Russian Gabel Mamedov in quarterfinal action on Tuesday, also. Davis won his round of 16 bout with an emphatic right hand TKO of France’s Sofiane Oumiha Saturday.
He is looking to become the first U.S. Lightweight Gold medalist in nearly 30 years, since Oscar De La Hoya won it at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.