Sports

Olympian Richard Torrez Jr. set for pro debut on Jose Ramirez card in Fresno

Jose Ramirez is returning to the Central Valley to headline a fight card that also includes Tulare-native and 2020 Olympic silver medalist Richard Torrez Jr.’s first professional bout.

Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs), a former junior welterweight world champion, will fight former two-weight world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza in a 12-round junior welterweight bout on Feb. 5 at the Save Mart Center. 

This will be Ramirez’s first fight since his defeat to Josh Taylor in May, the lone professional loss of his career. 

Pedraza (29-3, 14 KOs) has a junior lightweight and lightweight title on his resume and is coming off of an eighth-round knockout over the previously undefeated Julian Rodriguez in June. 

“Jose Ramirez has always demanded the biggest challenges, and he’s back in there with a tough former champion in Jose Pedraza,” Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said in a statement. “There are few more exciting atmospheres in boxing than when Jose fights in the Central Valley. The fans there love Jose, and he embodies the region’s blue-collar work ethic.” 

Ramirez has fought at the Save Mart Center five times in his career. His last bout in Fresno came in 2019 in front of an arena-record 14,034 fans. 

“I am motivated to become world champion once again, and it begins with a tough fight against Pedraza,” Ramirez said. “There are no better fans than the ones who pack the Save Mart Center every time I fight. The Central Valley is my home, and it is always a great honor to perform for my people.” 

Torrez Jr. will make his professional debut in the penultimate fight of the night. The silver medalist at last summer’s Olympic Games will fight a six-round heavyweight battle just one month after signing on with Top Rank to begin his professional career. 

“I can think of no better place to turn pro than in front of my Central Valley friends and family,” Torrez said. “They’ve supported me my entire amateur career, and I am thrilled that they will see the start of my professional journey. Let’s show everyone what it means to be valley grown.”

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.