TULARE, California. (KSEE) – On Saturday night, Tulare’s own Richard Torrez Jr. will be competing for the gold medal in the boxing super-heavyweight final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
Mission Oak High School, Torrez Jr’s alma mater, held a watch party to cheer him on during the long-awaited final match.
His father and coach, Richard Torrez Sr, says his son has been performing better and better each round, and he hopes that continues Saturday.
“We’re ready. We’ve been ready for years,” Torrez Sr. said.
Torrez Sr. has watched from his living room in Tulare as his son won all three of his boxing matches during the Olympics.
He’ll watch his son one final time in the games as he competes for the gold medal, a dream he says Torrez Jr. proclaimed many years ago
“As a little kid, he would run around the playground saying, ‘I wanna be in the Olympics, I’m going to be a champion one day, I’m going to be in the Olympics…’” explained Torrez Sr. “As a little kid, you kind of think about that like, ‘aw, that’s cute,’ but his determination and his drive to continue on that goal has been steadfast and he’s there now.”
At the minimum, Torrez Jr. will return home from Tokyo as a silver medalist. If he wins his match, he’ll return as the first American to win Olympic super-heavyweight gold in nearly four decades.
Many consider him the underdog in Saturday’s competition, but his father says that might just work in his favor.
“Our gold-tooth catchphrase is: ‘You might be better than me, you might be more talented than me, but you’ll never outwork me.’ He’s shown that time and time again, especially in these Olympics,” Torrez Sr. said.
Win or lose, Torrez Jr. is an Olympic medalist, and he has a lot of excited supporters waiting to welcome him back to the valley.
The gold medal match between Richard Torrez Jr. and Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov is scheduled to begin at 11:15 p.m. PDT Saturday.