Tulare native Richard Torrez Jr. earned a silver medal following a final round defeat to Uzbek fighter Bakhodir Jalolov.
The Tulare super heavyweight fighter managed a stirring first round to win via strong jabs to Jalolov’s head.
The Uzbek came back with a strong second round, delivering a cut to Torrez Jr’s eye, and followed with a third round full of jabs.
Torrez Jr. stormed into the gold medal fight after defeating Kazakh fighter Kamshybek Kunkabayev in a semifinal bout at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
The bout was a rematch two years in the making after Jalolov knocked out Torrez Jr. in the AIBA World Championships quarterfinals.
The Tularean was the first American to vie for a gold medal as a super heavyweight fighter since 1988 Seoul Games.
Sunday, Richard Torrez Sr. reported a heartbreaking phone call he had with his son after the defeat to Jalolov to The Washington Post:
For three rounds Sunday afternoon, he slugged at Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, a fortress of a man who had knocked Torrez out cold the last time they had fought. He even once stunned Jalolov with a blow to the face. But the judges inside Kokugikan Arena had given the gold to Jalolov, who was pumping his fists in the air, and Torrez was left to slump to the locker room and make the phone call he dreaded.
“Pops, I didn’t do it. I didn’t win,” Richard Torrez Sr. said his son told him.
For days, Richard Jr. had been talking about this call, practicing the words he would say to his father, coach and best friend the moment he had won Olympic gold. “Pops, I did it!” he was going to shout. Instead, his words were accompanied by tears.