Friday, March 24, 2023  |



Richard Torrez Jr. stops Kazakh foe in 3, will fight for super heavy gold medal

Heavyweight Richard Torrez

Richard Torrez Jr. moved one win away from becoming the first American to win super heavyweight Olympic gold in 37 years with a dominant victory over Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev on Wednesday at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

The 6’3″ big man from Tulare, Calif. dropped the two-time World Championships silver medalist with a short southpaw left in round two before accumulated damage and a cut led to a referee stoppage in the third round, propelling Torrez to the gold medal match.

“I hope my opponent’s alright, I hope he’s doing good. I saw him walk out of the ring, so much love to him,” said Torrez, 22, who will be the first American super heavyweight to compete in the gold medal match since Riddick Bowe in 1988. The last American to win the super heavyweight gold was Tyrell Biggs at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

“I’m just going to keep doing all I can to be on that gold medal podium. I’m going to do all I can to be able to go back home to say, ‘dad, we did it’,” he added.

Torrez will face Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov in the gold medal match on Sunday, August 8 at 3:15 p.m. local time. Jalolov stopped Great Britain’s Frazer Clarke in three rounds in the earlier semifinal bout to advance. The fight was stopped due to cuts above both of Clarke’s eyes.

“It was a good fight and hopefully in the final I will be doing my best,” said Jalolov, 27, who now resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I am not afraid of anybody, I am only afraid of the Creator.”

Jalolov, an 8-0 (8 knockouts) professional, has some history with Torrez, having scored a brutal first round knockout of the American at the 2019 World Championships. The outcome sparked debate about the fairness of professionals competing in international amateur tournaments.

The U.S. team went 1-1 on Wednesday, as women’s welterweight Oshae Jones settled for bronze after a 4-1 decision loss to China’s Hong Gu. Jones, the sister of pro boxer Otha Jones III, had previously won gold at the 2019 Pan American Games.

Gu will face Turkey’s Busenaz Sürmeneli, the reigning world champion, who defeated India’s Lovlina Borgohain in the semifinals, in the gold medal match this Saturday.


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