Bakhodir Jalolov Wins Gold; Richard Torrez Jr Becomes the First American Super Heavyweight Olympic Medalist Since 1988!
Richard Torrez Jr had multiple goals running in his mind heading into the super heavyweight gold medal match at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, Japan. He was attempting to become the first American to win Olympic gold since Andre Ward did so at the 2004 games in Athens. He was also looking to be the first fighter from the States to win super heavyweight gold since Tyrell Biggs accomplished that feat at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Then there is the matter of redemption and vengeance. Torrez’s opponent is the division’s number one seed, Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan. They previously fought in the quarterfinals of the 2019 AIBA World Championship in Russia, where Jalolov brutally knocked out the American in one round. The KO was so memorable and vicious that it has received over a million views on YouTube. To say the American was highly motivated would be an understatement.
NOT THE SAME FIGHTER
At 6’2”, Torrez is five inches shorter than his opponent. In their prior meeting, he made the mistake of fighting straight up, which left him wide open for the straight and powerful punches. He’s improved significantly since and it showed in the first round of their rematch.
The man from Tulare, California fights one way, and that is to go forward. However, he did a good job of staying low and fighting in a crouch during the opening round. This was coupled with excellent upper body movement to slip underneath the shots and score with body shots. Good defense paid dividends offensively as the southpaw was able to land solid straight lefts and right hooks to the chin. It all culminated with the Californian winning the opening round on three of the five judges’ scorecards.
TAKING IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL
Understanding he was facing a different beast this time around, Jalolov took his game to another gear. He’s a fellow southpaw who has fought eight fights as a pro, and that experience showed in round two. The big man picked up the jab and fought with more intensity. A series of power lefts and rights resulted in Torrez receiving a standing eight count with 1:25 to go in the round. It was at this point where the American also developed a cut over his left eye. Jalolov continued to land at will as he bullied the shorter fighter in a dominant round.
Round three saw the fighter from Uzbekistan use the jab to control the round and seal the win. Torrez was willing and determined but had no answers for the skill, movement, and length of Jalolov.
In the end, the pre-tournament super heavyweight favorite won by a comfortable unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27, 29-27, and 29-27) and wrapped up what was a dominant overall tournament. Jalolov stands an excellent chance to be named the fighter of the tournament.
As for Torrez Jr, he came up short in gaining revenge and winning gold. However, he can still hold his head high. Not only did he fight admirably in defeat, but he also became the first American to win an Olympic super heavyweight medal since Riddick Bowe in 1988.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.