Connect with us

Featured Articles

Richard Torrez Jr. Leads Team USA Into the First Olympic Qualifier

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Richard Torrez

On Monday, Dec. 3, more than 700 male and female amateur boxers converged on Salt Lake City, Utah, for three national tournaments, the USA Boxing Elite and Youth national tournaments and the Junior Open. The competition commenced today (Tuesday) and runs through the Elite Finals on Saturday.

For boxers in the Elite bracket (age 19 and over), the Salt Lake tournament serves as the first qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Winners in the junior (15-16) and youth (17-18) divisions will be invited to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

The men’s team is led by 19-year-old super heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr., the defending USA national champion. Torrez hails from Tulare, California (pop. 60,000), a community in the Central Valley of the Golden State that is home to many dairy farms. Torrez’s father, who was an outstanding amateur in his days, good enough to make the USA National Team, runs a boxing gym in Tulare.

This will be a common thread in Salt Lake City this week, young boxers being coached by their fathers. But the younger Torrez, who customarily carries about 220 pounds on a six-foot-two frame, is a well-rounded young man who doesn’t want to be defined by his fists.

At Tulare’s Mission Oaks High School, Torrez played football and basketball, was the president of the chess club, and was named valedictorian of his graduating class. He hopes to eventually attend college and study mechanical engineering. Cal Poly and the U.S. Air Force Academy currently top his list of potential schools.

If Torrez can keep winning, if he fulfills his Olympic dreams and leaves Tokyo with a medal, suitors with suitcases of money will grovel at his feet. And if he does well in the pro ranks he may even become as revered as Tulare’s most famous native son, the late Bob Mathias, a gold medal winning decathlete at two Olympiads and purportedly the first person to appear on a box of Wheaties.

Two other Elite boxers, both top seeds, warrant mention.

Heavyweight Cam F. Awesome, now 30 years old, is likely America’s most experienced amateur boxer. Seemingly around forever, he was recently named to the Team U.S.A. Boxing Board of Directors, which we gather was something of a lifetime achievement award. An interesting character who once aspired to a career as a stand-up comic, Awesome, who legally changed his name from Lenroy Thompson, is of Trinidadian and English descent and grew up in Uniondale, Long Island.

Awesome was upset in last year’s national championship, losing in the finals to Toledo’s then 18-year-old Jared Anderson. If form holds up, they will meet again on Saturday. Anderson is seeded #2.

The top seeded light heavyweight, New Jersey’s 21-year-old Khalil Coe, forged the biggest upset of 2018 when he stopped Cuba’s Julio Cesar La Cruz in the opening round at a tournament in Halle, Germany in June. Coe had only 24 fights under his belt. La Cruz was a four-time world champion and 2016 Olympic gold medalist.

Coe is still rough around the edges, but apparently has a murderous punch. (In his next fight in the Halle tournament, he scored another first-round stoppage, this over a Slovakian.) Coe looks forward to turning pro, his style appears better suited to the pro game, and Team USA may have trouble keeping him.

Here are the top seeds in the Elite division of the Salt Lake Tournament:

Weight Class

108              Ephraim Bui, Sugarland, TX

115               Fernando Martinez, Phoenix, AZ

126               Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, OH

139               Harley Mederos, New York, NY

152               Quinton Randall, Katy, TX

165               Troy Isley, Alexandria, VA

179               Khalil Coe, Jersey City, NJ

201               Cam F. Awesome, Shawnee, KS

201+            Richard Torrez Jr, Tulare, CA

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE

Featured Articles

NEWS FLASH: Leon Spinks Hospitalized; Reportedly Fighting for His Life

Avatar

Published

on

News-Flash-Leon-Spinks-Hospitalized-Reportedly-Fighting-for-his-Life

The gossip site TMZ is reporting that Leon Spinks is hospitalized in Las Vegas and is fighting for his life. TMZ acquired this information from Spinks’ wife Brenda Glur Spinks after spying her social media post. “It’s been a tough year for us,” she wrote. “Leon has endured a lot of medical problems. I’m reaching to ask that you pray for my Beautiful Husband Leon. So that he may overcome the obstacles that crossed his path.”

Her sentiment was echoed by Leon’s son Leon Spinks III who posted this message on his facebook page: “My Dad isn’t doing so good now and his wife Brenda Glur Spinks and I ask that u pray that he weather’s this storm. My dad is all I have left and I really appreciate it if yall let God know that he is not in this battle alone.”

A gold medal winner at the 1976 Olympics, Spinks, 66, is best remembered for upsetting Muhammad Ali in 1978 to win the world heavyweight title. He lost the title back to Ali in his next fight.

This is a developing story. As new details emerge, we will share them with you.

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Crawford-Kavaliauskas is the Main Go, but ‘The Takeover’ is the Stronger Allurement

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Crawford-Kavaliauskas-is-the-Main-Go-but-The-Takeover-is-the-Stronger-Allurement

Crawford-Kavaliauskas is the Main Go, but ‘The Takeover’ is the Stronger Allurement

Terence Crawford puts his undefeated record and his WBO welterweight title on the line Saturday when he opposes Egidijus Kavaliauskas at Madison Square Garden on ESPN. Kavaliauskas is no slouch. The two-time Olympian for Lithuania is also undefeated (21-0-1, 17 KOs), but Crawford is so highly regarded that he is a massive favorite.

If one were arranging the bouts according to the degree of intrigue, using the odds as the barometer, Crawford vs Kavaliauskas wouldn’t sit atop the marquee. That honor would go the IBF lightweight title fight between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez. Moreover, it’s a fair guess that if this fight were to fall out (perish the thought) it would result in more refunds than if Crawford were a late scratch.

The challenger, Lopez, is favored, currently in the vicinity of 9/4, but this is a price that usually translates into a very competitive fight and the stakes are high. The winner will almost assuredly advance to a rich engagement with Vasiliy Lomachenko who holds the other three meaningful 135-pound title belts

Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) won the IBF lightweight title – it was conveniently vacant – with a second-round stoppage of Russia’s Isa Chaniev and stopped Raymundo Beltran in eight rounds in his first title defense. Commey dominated both fights, scoring seven knockdowns in all, but the Russian was a sad excuse for a world title challenger and Beltran, although a solid pro, was past his prime at age 38.

Commey’s two losses came in back-to-back fights in 2016 and both were by split decision. He lost to Robert Easter Jr in Reading, Pennsylvania, and then, eight weeks later, was upended by Denis Shafikov before a tiny crowd at an actual boxing gym in Moscow.

There was nothing controversial about those losses, but in both instances Commey was in hostile territory. Toledo’s Easter brought a large delegation of fans to Reading and Shafikov was fighting on his home turf. The crowd on Saturday will almost assuredly be skewed against Commey again, but it won’t be as pronounced. Commey, born and raised in Ghana, has a home in the Bronx. Lopez was born in Brooklyn, a bond that his Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum likes to emphasize, but grew up in Davie, Florida.

Teofimo

At age 22, Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) is almost 10 years younger than Richard Commey. A year ago, at this very venue, he scored his most memorable triumph, a highlight-reel, 44-second, one-punch knockout of Mason Menard that was named the TSS Knockout of the Year. He has won three fights in the interim, most recently a 12-round decision over Masayoshi Nakatani.

Teofimo won comfortably on the scorecards, but his performance left much to be desired. The Japanese was a tall, rangy fighter. In Richard Commey, he is meeting a man of similar height. Both are listed at five-foot-eight.

Lopez has developed a large following in a short time and his in-ring heroics are only part of the story. He’s quite the showman. After each win he adds an exclamation point with a celebratory back-flip and outside the ring his brash persona has enhanced his notoriety.

When a fighter has a common surname, it helps to have a unique first name. The reality is that Lopez would not have built his brand as fast if his first name had been, say, Miguel, or Carlos, or Juan. And he had the foresight to supplement his unique first name with a unique nickname: The Takeover.

The nickname, says Lopez, doesn’t just refer to taking over a specific weight division (he’ll move up to 140 before the year 2020 is over) but, rather, taking over the whole sport in the sense of becoming boxing’s biggest pay-per-view attraction. Early into his pro career, he began calling out Lomachenko.

Teofimo’s biggest cheerleader is his Honduras-born father and trainer of the same name and the elder Lopez has even more hubris than his son. “My son is too strong for Lomachenko….he would walk through anything that Lomechenko throws at him,” Teofimo Sr. told veteran boxing writer Bill Tibbs prior to his son’s match with Mason Menard. “Liston, he has God-given gifts and he’s simply the best out there. (My son) has the best parts of Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, GGG, Floyd, Andre Ward, all the best of them in him.”

The Lopez that defeated Nakatani would not have defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko. And there are those that think he won’t beat Richard Commey unless he brings his “A’ game. It’s an interesting fight.

—–

The main fights on Saturday’s Top Rank boxing card will air on ESPN’s flagship station. The boxing card, which opens with the rematch between Michael Conlan and Vladimir Nikitin, follows the show in which the Heisman Trophy is presented to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow. The Heisman telecast will begin at 8 pm EST.

The same situation prevailed last year when Top Rank’s Madison Square Garden card was headlined by the fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Jose Pedraza. To the consternation of diehard boxing fans, the Heisman presentation show ran late. Don’t be surprised if it happens again.

Photo credit: Stacy Verbeek

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading

Featured Articles

Will U.S. Olympic Boxers Fare Better in Tokyo Thanks to Yesterday’s Ruling?

Arne K. Lang

Published

on

Will-U.S.-Olympic-Boxers-Fare-Better-in-Tokyo-Thanks-to-Yesterday's-Ruling?

The road to the medal round for U.S. boxers at the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics just got easier. But maybe not.

“Russia Banned From The Tokyo Olympics” screamed yesterday’s headline, but reading between the lines there’s more to the story. A more carefully worded headline would have read “Russian Olympic Athletes in Limbo.”

We have been down this road before. WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, recommended banning Russia from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The agency accused Russian authorities of a massive cover-up that erased hundreds of positive test samples.

WADA then did something of an about-face and decided to evaluate each case individually. Ultimately, 278 Russian athletes were approved to compete in Rio; 111 were denied. All 11 Russian boxers who survived the various qualifying events made the cut.

This new ban (which will be appealed) also emanates from WADA which alleges that the Russian authorities continued the massive cover-up using the “disappearance methodology.” But, if upheld, it’s a more severe penalty in that it bans Russia from major international sporting events for the next four years. That would include the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world by far. The next edition of the World Cup is slated for 2022 in Qatar.

“There’s still…the possibility of clean athletes to compete in the Games,” Svetlana Romashina, a five-time Olympic gold medalist in synchronized swimming, told Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth of The Guardian. “I believe the punishment of clean athletes to be unacceptable,” continued Romashina. “We have done nothing wrong.”

The reality, as it now stands, is that Russian boxers and other Russian athletes, if deemed clean, will be able to compete in Tokyo, just not under the Russian banner. As is common in some wrestling tournaments, their affiliation will be “unattached.” And Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a big fan of amateur boxing and other combat sports, won’t be there. The ban prohibits Russian officials from attending major international sporting events if their team has been expelled.

—–

Historically, the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team has excelled in the Summer Games. But that’s yesterday’s news. In the last three Olympics, U.S. male boxers won only three medals, one silver and two bronze. By contrast, during the same period, Russian boxers walked off with 10 medals including three gold.

The prognosis for the 2020 U.S. team looked dim once again when the U.S. contingent earned only one medal (a silver by lightweight Keyshawn Davis) at the recent AIBA men’s World Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia. The host team garnered four medals, including three gold. If one conjoined the Russian squad with former Soviet Union satellites Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the count grows to seven gold medals (of a possible eight) and 15 medals overall.

Russia’s gold medalists at the World Championships were welterweight Andrey Zamkovoy (pictured), middleweight Gleb Bakshi, and heavyweight Muslim Gadzhimagomedov. Zamkovoy and the heavyweight (who will badly need a new name if he ever turns pro) are outstanding amateurs and may have been favored to win their divisions in Tokyo.

Zamkovoy, 32, represented Russia in the 2012 and 2016 Games and medaled in 2012 where he defeated Errol Spence Jr en route to the semi-finals. The heavyweight (a cruiserweight by pro standards) is an ever-improving, 22-year-old, six-foot-four southpaw who has already amassed an amateur record of 60-5.

The competition for the U.S. team at overseas tournaments has gotten a lot tougher in the last two decades as several Eastern European countries have become more like Cuba, investing state resources into their amateur boxing programs with an eye to building a powerhouse. Perhaps the WADA edict will aid the U.S. boxing team in shaking the doldrums in 2020, but that assumption seems premature.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel 

To comment on this story in The Fight Forum CLICK HERE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
From-Womb-to-Tomb-Sonny-Liston's-Fate-Was-Seemingly-Preordained
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

From Womb to Tomb, Sonny Liston’s Fate Was Seemingly Preordained

12-Rounds-in-Lo's-Gym-Book-Report-by-Thomas-Hauser
Book Review3 weeks ago

“12 Rounds in Lo’s Gym” by Todd D. Synder: Book Review by Thomas Hauser

GGG-The-End-Game-for-the-Big Drama-Show
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

GGG: The End Game for the Big Drama Show

Ortiz Accuses Wilder-of-Criminal-Tactics-Wilder-Takes-Umbrage
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Ortiz Accuses Wilder of ‘Borderline Criminal’ Tactics; Wilder Takes Umbrage

New=Zealand-Heavyweights-Fa-and-Ahio-Have-a-Home-Field-Advantage-in-Utah
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

New Zealand Heavyweights Fa and Ahio Have a Home Field Advantage in Utah

Thomas-Hauser's-Latest-Book-A-Dangerius-Journey-is-Another-Peach
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Thomas Hauser’s Latest Book, ‘A Dangerous Journey,’ is Another Peach

Abel-Sanchez-Had-a-Very-Pleasant-Trip-to-Paris
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Abel Sanchez Had a Very Pleasant Trip to Paris

Ruis-Joshua-2-Cash-on-the-Dunes
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Ruiz – Joshua 2: Cash on the Dunes

Callum-Smith-Britain's-Best-Boxer-Has-a-Date-With-a-Gorilla-on-Saturday
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Callum Smith, Britain’s Best Boxer, Has a Date With a ‘Gorilla’ on Saturday

The-Official-TSS-Wilder-Ortiz-2-Prediction-Page
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

The Official TSS Wilder-Ortiz 2 Prediction Page

Giovani-Santillan-Returns-with-KO-win-at-Ontario-Calif
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Giovani Santillan Returns with KO Win at Ontario, Calif.

Tony-Harrison-and-Jernell-Charlo
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Tony Harrison and Jermell Charlo; They Just Don’t Like Each Other

Carlos-Morales-and-Mercita-Gesta-Fight-to-a-Technical-Draw-in-LA
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Carlos Morales and Mercito Gesta Fight to a Technical Draw in L.A.

Australia's-Moloney-Twins-Keep-on-Truckin'
Featured Articles4 weeks ago

Australia’s Moloney Twins Keep on Truckin’

Fast-Results-from-Las-Vegas-Wilder-Knocks-out-Ortiz-Emphatically
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Fast Results from Las Vegas: Wilder Knocks out Ortiz Emphatically

Avila-Perspective-Chap-74-Cancio-Wilder-Santa-Cruz-and-More
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Avila Perspective, Chap. 74: Cancio, Wilder, Santa Cruz and More

Teddy-Atlas-Keeper-of-His-Late-Father's-Flame-Called-to-a-Higher-Mission
Featured Articles3 weeks ago

Teddy Atlas, Keeper of His Late Father’s Flame, Called to a Higher Mission

Rene-Alvarado-and-Xu-Can-Win-Title-Fights-at-Frantasy-Springs
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Rene Alvarado and Xu Can Win Title Fights at Fantasy Springs

Boxing's-Thrill-Factory-Then-and-Now
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Boxing’s Thrill Factory: Then and Now

Deontay-Wilder-May-Be-a-One-Trick-Pony-But-What-an-Extraordinary-Trick-It-Is
Featured Articles2 weeks ago

Deontay Wilder May Be a One-Trick Pony, But What an Extraordinary Trick It Is

News-Flash-Leon-Spinks-Hospitalized-Reportedly-Fighting-for-his-Life
Featured Articles11 hours ago

NEWS FLASH: Leon Spinks Hospitalized; Reportedly Fighting for His Life

Crawford-Kavaliauskas-is-the-Main-Go-but-The-Takeover-is-the-Stronger-Allurement
Featured Articles15 hours ago

Crawford-Kavaliauskas is the Main Go, but ‘The Takeover’ is the Stronger Allurement

Will-U.S.-Olympic-Boxers-Fare-Better-in-Tokyo-Thanks-to-Yesterday's-Ruling?
Featured Articles2 days ago

Will U.S. Olympic Boxers Fare Better in Tokyo Thanks to Yesterday’s Ruling?

HITS-and-MISSES-from-a-Boxing-Weekend-Spearheaded-by-a-Biggie-in-Saudi-Arabia
Featured Articles2 days ago

HITS and MISSES from a Weekend Spearheaded by a Biggie in Saudi Arabia

Three-Punch-Combo-Breakout-Fighters-Crawford-Kavaliauskas-and-More
Featured Articles3 days ago

Three Punch Combo: Breakout Fighters, Crawford-Kavaliauskas and More

Congrats-to-AJ-But-Ruiz-Obliged-Him-by-Forgetting-History
Featured Articles3 days ago

Congrats to AJ, But Fat Andy Obliged His Redemption by Forgetting History

In-the-Evening-Hours-After-Joshua-Ruiz-There-Was-a-Lot-Going-On
Featured Articles4 days ago

In the Evening Hours After Joshua-Ruiz, There Was a Lot Going On

The-Hauser-Report-Ruiz-Joshua-2-from-Afar
Featured Articles4 days ago

The Hauser Report: Ruiz-Joshua 2 from Afar

News Flash-Joshua-Flummoxes-Ruiz-in-a-Monotonous-Fight
Featured Articles4 days ago

News Flash: Joshua Flummoxes Ruiz in a Monotonous Fight

Today's-Deep_Boxing-Menu-Kicks-Off-with--Heavyweight-Super-Fight
Featured Articles5 days ago

Today’s Deep Boxing Menu Kicks Off with a Heavyweight Super-Fight

Remembering-Leotis-Martin-who-KOed-Sonny-Liston-50-Years-Ago-Today
Featured Articles5 days ago

Remembering Leotis Martin who KOed Sonny Liston 50 Years Ago Today

Downtown-LA-Fight-Results-from-the-Exchange
Featured Articles6 days ago

Downtown LA Fight Results From the Exchange

Thomas-Hauser-Enters-the-Boxing-Hall-of-Fame
Featured Articles6 days ago

Thomas Hauser Enters the Boxing Hall of Fame

The-Official-TSS-Joshua-Ruiz-II-Prediction-Page
Featured Articles1 week ago

The Official TSS Ruiz-Joshua II Prediction Page

Repping-Texas-Virgil-Ortiz-Jr-Hector-Tanajara-and-Joshua-Franco
Featured Articles1 week ago

Repping Texas- Vergil Ortiz Jr., Hector Tanajara and Joshua Franco

New-Orleans-Native-Bernard-Fernandez-Enters-the-Boxing-Hall-of-Fame
Featured Articles1 week ago

New Orleans Native Bernard Fernandez Enters the Boxing Hall of Fame

Scoping-Out-the-Heavyweight-Unercard-in-Saudi Arabia
Featured Articles1 week ago

Scoping Out the Heavyweight Undercard in Saudi Arabia

Hits-and-Misses-from-the-Last-Weekend-of-a-Livery-November
Featured Articles1 week ago

HITS and MISSES from the Last Weekend of a Lively November

3-Punch-Combo-Notes-in-New-Welterweight-Titleholder-Alexander-Besputin-and-More
Featured Articles1 week ago

3 Punch Combo: Notes on New Welterweight Titleholder Alexander Besputin and More

Filipino-Road-Warrior-John-Riel-Casimero-Shocks-Zolani-Tete
Featured Articles1 week ago

Filipino Road Warrior John Riel Casimero Shocks Zolani Tete

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Advertisement