The heavyweight division always needs fresh talent, new blood, and some fans are beginning to get excited about 24 year old Californian heavyweight prospect Richard Torrez Junior. The southpaw who won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympic Games is currently 7-0(7) as a pro, Torrez Jr having made his pro debut in March of last year. Tonight, on the Robeisy Ramirez-Rafel Espinoza card, Torrez Jr will face the experienced Curtis Harper, 14-10(9), in what may or may not prove to be a test of a fight for him.
But down the line, in fact quite soon if he gets his way, Torrez Jr will be fighting fellow former Olympian, former WBO interim heavyweight champ Joe Joyce. These two sparred some years back, when Torrez Jr was just 17 years of age. That old saying, ‘what happens in sparring, stays in sparring’ prevents Torrez Jr from going into too much detail about what happened, yet it seems, going by what Torrez Jr had to say to Sky Sports, that Joyce, shall we say, took liberties.
Torrez Jr, who really did have a standout amateur career, with him also winning two US National Championship golds and a bronze medal at the Pan American Games, says there is “animosity” there with regards to Joyce.
“I was 17 and there’s some animosity, at least on my end from that sparring session. I don’t want to get into it too much but I definitely would love that boxing match to be able to happen one day if not next year,” Torrez Jr said. “Some people hear the bell and some people don’t. I can’t speak for the guy and who he is as a person. I just know from my experience of what happened with me, I do harbour a little bit of just wanting to be able to fight him in the pros. If I could have one fight, I would like to fight him.”
A potential grudge match down the road? It’s possible Joyce will not really remember the sparring session he and Torrez Jr engaged in, or what he did in it that so angered, and still angers, Torrez. Still, there is a story here and maybe, if he can up the level of his opposition next year, Torrez will fight Joyce in the pros. That said, how much has “The Juggernaut” got left after those two stoppage defeats at the hands of Zhilei Zhang? Would Joyce perhaps look at Torrez Jr as a suitable comeback opponent for next year?
For now, let’s see how Torrez Jr gets on with Harper; a man who once climbed out of the ring in protest just one second after the bell had rang to signal the start of the fight!