Boxing · Sports

Torrez takes the ring, ESPN on Friday for second-ever pro bout

Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist Richard Torrez made a triumphant start to his professional career in March.

He will face Roberto Zavala Jr. (2-1-1, 2 knockouts) in his second outing at Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California, on Friday evening, kicking off a broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+

The 23-year-old from Central California was pleased with his debut despite the pressure that comes with entering the professional game after a successful amateur career.

“It really allowed me to experience the entirety of professional boxing,” Torrez (1-0, 1 KO) told The Ring. “I’m ready going into the second fight. There’s a lot of things I have to work on from my first fight: Being a little more composed, not rushing in too much. I think you will see a difference.

“Toward the end of my amateur career, there was no crowd. So any tournament I went to, there was no one there. The only people you could hear were your coaches. To go into a packed stadium, people had posters of me; people were yelling my name, screaming. It was definitely a change of scene and change of tempo. While it was an amazing thing, it was something I had to get used to and I think I’m used to it now and I’m ready for it.”

Although it is very much the embryonic stage of Torrez’s journey, he is happy with how he has settled into his professional career.

“I take it in my stride. I’m not really changing my mindset,” he said. “I’m training like it’s a world championship fight and I’m ready to perform.

“I think one of the biggest differences is every fight means something in the professional game. In the amateurs, you have tournaments, warm-up fights, but in the professionals, every single fight means something. It sticks with you forever. In the amateurs, I was able to say, ‘If all else fails, I have the next tournament.’

“This fight here is my most important fight and it will be my most important fight of all-time now. Every single fight I have is my most important fight of all-time now. That’s how I’m going into the ring.”

Torrez doesn’t box because he has to; he boxes because it’s who he is and what he wants to do.

The proud Tulare resident was his high school’s valedictorian and had options to study Mechatronic engineering at California Polytechnic. Although he currently attends community college, boxing is his main focus.

“I want to box so bad,” he said. “I need to do these things; I want this intangible success. I have to train hard; I need to be conditioned. Just because some guys need to fight because they have no other outlet, that doesn’t mean anything to me. I want this so bad and that’s what I need to do to be champion.”

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.