Keyshawn Davis And Richard Torrez Settled For Olympic Silver
The most successful boxing tournament for the male USA fighters in twenty years concluded on Sunday afternoon with two more Silver medals for Lightweight Keyshawn Davis and Super Heavyweight Richard Torrez. Both Americans fought hard fought contests before losing three round decisions.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 8, 2021
Up first at the Kokugikan Arena was Davis fighting his nemesis Andy Cruz of Cuba, while going for the first U.S. Gold in the Lightweight division, since Oscar De La Hoya in the 1992 Barcelona Games. Cruz had beaten the 22 year old Davis in all three of their previous fights, including the 2019 World Championships.
However, Davis had gained experience from having turned pro earlier in 2021 and won three fights. He was then, allowed back into the amateur competition for the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
The fight was competitive and close from the opening round, as Davis was scoring with left jabs, while the slightly taller Cruz landed an occasional right hand. What was obvious was the gamesmanship of the Cuban, who continually put his right glove up to signal to the five judges that he landed a punch. However, Cruz repeatedly did this tactic, while not even landing a punch.
So, smartly, the Norfolk, VA-native Davis had seen this in their previous fights and began to do the same. He landed a solid right hand for the best punch of the round and put his right glove in the air. This would go on from both fighters through out the bout. Even though Davis seemed to land more volume of punches, four of the five international judges still gave the round to the Cuban.
Round two saw Davis much more aggressive and landing cleaner, harder shots. This included an excellent left hook, and Davis put his glove in the air to signal the judges, again. Davis backed up Cruz repeatedly, scoring with the jab and a couple of body shots. He also landed a solid right in the convincing round that all five judges gave to him.
However, in the final frame the Cuban Cruz, who’s listed at 23 years old, but many Olympic observers believe may be as old as 27 or 28, was more aggressive. For whatever reason, whether fatigue or apprehension Davis hung back and let the Cuban score with a jab and then, a left. Davis kept his hands at his sides and didn’t move forward until the final minute of the fight.
Davis did score a glancing right and later a good left to the body in the final :30. Davis put his hand up one final time after that shot.
However, in the end, it wasn’t enough. Cruz won the third round on four of the five cards, again and therefore, got the 4-1 decision win for Gold. It was the Cuban team’s fourth Gold of the 2020 Tokyo games.
Davis joined teammate Duke Ragan, as having to won his Silver at Featherweight on Thursday.
Later Sunday afternoon, California’s Torrez lost a unanimous decision in the Super Heavy final to monstrously sized Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan. The 6’7, 270 lb. Jalolov used his height and reach to earn a 5-0 unanimous decision.
Torrez was valiant and aggressive against Jalolov, despite having been knocked out by the Uzbek in the 2019 World Championships. However, his clean punches were few and far between in this one. He did land a good left out of the southpaw stance that stopped Jalolov in his tracks for a second. That was the best punch from either fighter in the opening round
Still, the Uzbek landed good right jabs late, but Torrez took the round on three of the five judges cards.
The second round, however turned the whole fight for the favored Jalolov. First, Torrez had been warned repeatedly to keep his head up, despite Torrez being 5 inches smaller and having Jalolov come in after missed punches and grab him around the head and neck. The Polish referee never warned Jalolov for his holding, but eventually stopped the action and actually took a point from the American.
Later in round two, Jaolov scored a hard left that briefly wobbled Torrez back and the referee administered a standing eight count. He also called the doctor over to look at a cut under Torrez’s left eye but he was allowed to continue. It was an impressive finish to the second round for the Uzbek.
After two rounds, Jaolov was ahead by at least two points on all five cards, meaning the former high school valedictorian in Tulare, CA, would have to “step on the gas” and get standing eights or knockdowns to rally.
That did not happen, as the bigger Jaolov scored with the long jab, and grappled Torrez down the stretch of the final round. In the end it was a Gold medal performance for the Uzbek and a unanimous decision win.
For Torrez, he became the first American Super Heavyweight to get a Silver, since Riddick Bowe in the 1988 Seoul Games. The last Gold was four years earlier by Tyrell Biggs at the Los Angeles Olympics.
The U.S., the dominant country of Olympic boxing in the 60s, 70s and 80s, continues it’s dubious streak of not having a single Gold in men’s boxing, since Light Heavyweight Andre Ward in 2004.
However, this is the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics that at least two American men won at least two Sliver Medals at the same Olympics.
And, the performances of Ragan, Davis and Torrez to all three reach the final showed progress that maybe the USA can build on for the Paris 2024 Olympics, which are now just three years away.