Good Sports: Tulare's Richard Torrez Jr. returns from Olympics

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Boxer Richard Torrez Jr. is back home in Tulare fresh off his historic run at the Summer Olympics, a run that saw him win three out of four bouts to secure the Silver medal for Team USA

"To be able to go out there and say I represented Tulare, my community, my country, it's something I dreamed about my entire life," Torrez said.

Team USA boxing returns with four medals, the most won by the United States since 2000.

Although gold eluded him, Torrez joins Tyrell Biggs and Riddick Bowe as the only Americans to ever medal in the Super Heavyweight division.

"I'm proud of what I did, I'm proud of what I accomplished for my town and my community, but it's a bittersweet moment and it will always be a bittersweet moment because I didn't win. I did get that Silver medal," Torrez said.

Also known as "Kiki," Torrez learned how to trade punches in the ring from his dad Richard Sr., a great amateur fighter in his own right who came within an eyelash of qualifying for the '84 Olympics.

"As a father, you always hope your son does better than you. I know the process and that just gets me to be more impressed with him," said his dad, Richard Torrez Sr.

Competing for Olympic glory had been Torrez's dream since a young age.

Under his dad's tutelage, Kiki developed into a power puncher and soon started winning bouts while training out of the family's boxing gym near the outskirts of town.

Signs and well wishes are still scattered across the South Valley as Tulare's favorite son becomes just the third Olympic Medalist from Tulare.

"I'm going around town and people are recognizing me not just as a boxer, but as Richard Torrez. I might be that guy right now and it's really amazing to see, and I'm so thankful for it," said Torrez Jr.

The Mission Oak graduate is looking forward to the next chapter in his career, with plans to turn pro following an outstanding amateur career that saw him win 154 to just 10 loses.

"I am confident in my ability as a fighter, I'm confident in my ability as an entertainer because that's what pro boxing is. I'm excited for what I can bring to the table when I do turn professional," Torrez Jr. said.

"Good movement he has, fast, hits hard, got an engine like you wouldn't believe. Some of the things are similar to what I had but he has more of it, and I'm able to capitalize that and take it to the next level," said Torrez Sr.

The City of Tulare has scheduled a welcome home celebration for Torrez this Saturday, beginning at 6:30 pm with a motorcade from the Tulare Athletic Boxing Club to Bob Mathias Stadium.
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