Richard Torrez Reaches Super Heavyweight Final In Tokyo
The United States will have a second male fighter go for Gold at the Tokyo Olympics, as California Super Heavyweight Richard Torrez advanced to the final fight of his tournament with an impressive Wednesday afternoon semi-final stoppage of his Kazakhstan opponent.
Torrez scored a third round TKO over Kamshybek Kunkabayev to become the first USA Boxing male Super Heavyweight to make the Gold medal fight, since 1988’s Seoul Olympics.
He was up on all 5 cards after 2 rounds! pic.twitter.com/NCdUFr3AYH
— USA Boxing (@USABoxing) August 4, 2021
Torrez overwhelmed Kunkabayev scoring two knockdowns and having the fight eventually stopped after the second one with a cut that had developed over Kunkabayev’s right eye.
Torrez began the semifinal fight fast, as the southpaw used his right jab and overhand left’s to appear to win the round. But, it was the second frame where the American team captain took control of the bout. Torrez hurt Kunkabayev with an overhand left and then, the Kazakh was deducted another point for excessive holding. Torrez later landed another big left hand that sent Kunkabayev to the mat.
That gave Torrez an official overwhelming 20 – 17 lead on four of the five judges scorecards headed into round three. However, the American did not leave it up to a decision, as he floored Kunkabayev with another left drawing blood over his right eye. The referee gave the mandatory 8-count and then took the Kazakh over to the ringside physician, who advised to stop the fight.
With the win Torrez joins Ohio’s Duke Ragan, as also having advanced to the Gold medal fight in the Featherweight division. Virginia’s Keyshawn Davis will fight his Lightweight semifinal on Thursday and is assured of at least a Bronze Medal.
Torrez’s win continues a resurgence for USA Boxing that hasn’t been seen in over 20 years. He and Ragan are the first tandem that will fight for Gold Medals in the same Olympics since Sydney 2000. That’s when Ricardo Williams and “Rocky” Juarez both won Silver medals that year.
Back to Torrez. He is the first American to make the Super Heavyweight final since Riddick Bowe lost the Gold medal bout in South Korea, settling for Silver in 1988. The United States last Super Heavyweight Gold medal is Tyrell Biggs from four years earlier in the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984.
Torrez’s Sunday Gold medal fight will not be easy, as he will rematch Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, Jalolov defeated Torrez by devastating knockout two years ago in the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Amateur Championships.
Their fight will be the final bout of the boxing competition Sunday afternoon.