GLENDALE, Arizona – Richard Torrez Jr. remained a knockout every time out.
Only an injury has so far slowed down the 2020 Olympic Silver medalist and rising heavyweight prospect, who made quick work of Indianapolis’ Willie Jake Jr. Their Top Rank-promoted, ESPN-televised opener saw Torrez send Jake to the canvas and subsequently force the stoppage at 1:22 of round one Saturday evening at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The two were due to meet earlier this year at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, the site of Torrez’s pro debut last March. A training camp injury briefly put the bout and career on hold but he didn’t miss a beat with the rescheduled affair. The 24-year-old southpaw from Tulare, California enjoyed a stoppage after one round at this very venue on February 3, and enjoyed an even quicker night at the office in his return.
Jake (11-4-2, 3KOs) was unable to avoid the heavy-handed southpaw, who connected with a right hook and left hand to produce the bout’s lone knockdown. An ensuing volley had Jake badly hurt to the point where the referee was forced to intervene and end the contest.
Torrez cruised to 6-0 (6KOs) with the win in what he expected to be his final scheduled six-round contest—not that the bout length has been a factor. His six pro bouts have lasted less than nine combined rounds, though the move to eight-round affairs should also produce a much-needed step up in competition.
The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics saw Torrez become the first American super heavyweight since 1988 to advance to the Gold medal round. He fell just short to Bakhodir Jalolov (12-0, 12KOs), who signed with Top Rank and makes his company debut on the August 26 ESPN telecast in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Headlining Saturday’s show, three-division and reigning WBO junior lightweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (37-1, 31KOs) attempts his first defense versus former two-division champ Oscar Valdez (31-1, 23KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox