Olympic silver medallist Richard Torrez insists Anthony Joshua needs to bring him in as a sparring partner to get ready for his second fight with Oleksandr Usyk.
Ahead of boxing Roberto Zavala Jr on the Arnold Barboza Jr vs Daniel Zorrilla undercard this Friday night live on Sky Sports, Torrez has pointed out that his compact, high intensity southpaw style would be ideal preparation for the rematch with Usyk.
“I was hoping that Anthony Joshua would hit me up to spar because I kind of have an Usyk style. How it happens is how it happens, I haven’t got that call,” he told Sky Sports.
“If any of the big heavyweights want to spar me or want to get a look, I am more than willing and more than obliged to go and do so.”
There aren’t many fast southpaw heavyweights who match Usyk’s dimensions, but Torrez is one of them. “We’re few and far between,” said the American, as he acknowledged the scale of the task facing Joshua.
“Usyk’s movement, his lateral movement, his feints, everything like that, it’s unparalleled right now,” Torrez said.
“I think the shot that Anthony Joshua has is letting his punches go. He really has to let those punches go and he has the shots, he has the power. Anthony Joshua will always have that power. If he lands, it’ll hurt and I think by following through with his punches and having more combinations, I think it’ll be an interesting fight. Honestly right now I am leaning towards Usyk.”
Usyk moved up from cruiserweight, where he was the undisputed champion, to beat Joshua and win the unified IBF, WBA and WBO titles. For Torrez that proved that smaller heavyweights can still reach the summit of the division.
“I’m here to show that same thing. Everyone always talks about how I’m a smaller heavyweight, everyone talks about why didn’t I go to cruiserweight. I mean Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, all the greats, all the legends, they’re about my size,” Torrez said.
“I think people see one huge guy and say that’s heavyweights now. That’s all heavyweights can be, that’s all heavyweights will ever be now, is a 6ft 10, 300lb guy. It’s like hold on, I’m still here. I’m still going to make a scene and I’m thankful for Usyk for showing that and I can’t wait to put the nail in the coffin.”
Torrez resisted any pressure to move down in weight. “I’m an Olympic silver medallist,” he said. “If I’m able to have this much success as a super-heavyweight, as a heavyweight, I’m going to stay there.
“And everyone wants to be the heavyweight champion of the world.”
Torrez secured that Olympic silver medal after a super-heavyweight final in which he had to face his psychological demons as well as the towering Bakhodir Jalolov.
The formidable Uzbek is a 6ft 7ins power-puncher with all round boxing skills who was the clear favourite in Tokyo and already the World championship gold medallist. Torrez had boxed him three years before and suffered a crushing knockout defeat, footage of which had gone viral across social media.
The young American showed courage in the Olympic final, taking the fight to Jalolov, making use of his own power and skill as he lost a points decision in what was nevertheless a creditable effort. “I was never there to take second. I was never there to not win the entire thing,” he said. “I came this close. That is honestly why I’m still so driven.”
“I’ve been to the lowest part of boxing. I’ve been on a viral video of me getting knocked out. I got knockout of the year and I was the one getting knocked out,” Torrez continued.
“I’ve been at the lowest point of boxing and I’m still here. I was able to come back and I was able to make something of myself and I was able to show that I am meant to be in the heavyweight division.
“So if people aren’t afraid of me, they should be. Because I’ve been to the lowest and I’m back and I’m here to stay. I want everyone to know that you can come back from the downfalls and you can come back from the failures. Everyone always says it’s not about if you get knocked out, it’s about getting back up. Sometimes you don’t get back up. And I’m still here and I’m back and I’m here to stay.”
Torrez’s Olympic silver medal ultimately saw him sign a professional contract with US promotional powerhouse Top Rank. He had his pro debut in March, taking a stoppage win over Allen Melson in two incident-packed rounds.
Coming back from an Olympic Games that had taken place behind closed doors due to the pandemic restrictions, Torrez was stunned at the reception that greeted him for his first professional contest.
“When I finally walked to the ring and they said my name, the amount of applause I got was insane and I couldn’t believe that. Especially coming from the Olympics where there was no one there and it was just quiet, silent. To be able to have people there with posters of my name and all my friends and family there, it was incredible and I kind of underestimated the whole nerves going in as a pro,” he said.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘Man this is insane, this is a totally different realm’ and I stepped into the ring and I realised this is the same thing, just without a shirt. So I know what I’m doing going in there now. I know the nature of the beast and I’m excited to show what I can do.”
In that fight he dropped Melson heavily in the first round, the referee appeared to wave the contest off, prompting the doctor to clamber into the ring and Torrez to celebrate. The referee either changed his mind or realised his mistake and waved the fight back on. Torrez dived back in, only to pick up a bad cut on his forehead. He renewed his assault in the second round to ward off any danger and win by knockout.