US boxers Davis, Torrez can get revenge, win gold medals

Aug 6, 2021, 1:46 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2021, 3:30 am

TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo Olympics are already the most successful since 2000 for the U.S. boxing team if measured by its haul of four medals.

It’s the best performance by the Americans since 1988 if measured by their three berths in Olympic title bouts.

But the most successful nation in Olympic boxing history is down to its final two chances to end the men’s 17-year gold medal drought — and its two fighters in finals on Sunday are also motivated by revenge.

Lightweight Keyshawn Davis and super heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr. are both facing the top seeds in their weight classes to close the show at the Kokugikan Arena. They’re both underdogs against opponents who have beaten them — and in Torrez’s case, beaten them unconscious.

Davis takes on Andy Cruz, who will try to add a fourth gold medal to Cuba’s Olympic-leading haul. Torrez is up against Bakhodir Jalolov Uzbekistan — the 6-foot-7, 27-year-old pro who has bruised his way to an 8-0 professional record and the gold medal bout.

Cruz is 3-0 against Davis.

Jalolov knocked Torrez out cold in September 2019.

Both Americans love the idea of avenging their setbacks.

“If you’re writing a script, this is the script,” U.S. coach Billy Walsh said. “You come back, go to the Olympic final, and you go beat the guy who put you on your (rear). That’s what we’re here to do.”

Davis’ ever-confident demeanor didn’t change when he watched Cruz advance to face him in the final.

“I feel like that’s going to be an easy fight, man,” Davis said after beating Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia in the semifinals. “I’m bigger, faster, smarter, stronger. It showed today. Facing Cuba, I feel like it’s going to be nothing different. I’m just going to show all my attributes and I’m going to win that gold medal.”

It’s not easy on paper: Davis has lost to Cruz in Nicaragua, Peru and Russia. His confidence in Japan is grounded in his improvements since turning pro this year and returning to the Olympics with more power and elusiveness.

In fact, Davis’ experiences against Cruz in defeat are the reason for his confidence now.

“I learned that he doesn’t have quick feet like he used to have,” Davis said. “He stands right in front of you a lot more. I feel like that works more to my advantage, because I still use my feet. I feel like I’m still quick. I still have my speed and power. I’m just more mature.”

The final fight in Tokyo will be Torrez’s rematch with Jalolov, who sent Torrez from the ring on a stretcher at the world championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Jalolov’s massive left hand turned out Torrez’s lights, but Walsh quickly put the setback in perspective.

“This moment will not define you,” Walsh says he told Torrez. “What will define you is how you come back from this moment, and (how) you show the character that you have and the person that you are to come back from that defeat to this stage.”

Torrez’s Olympic performance has been stellar, highlighted by a stunning victory over Dainier Pero of Cuba in the quarterfinals. Torrez then reached the final by stopping Kamyshek Kunkabayev of Kazakhstan, another bruiser nearly as intimidating as Jalolov.

“I just have this existential feeling that it’s just destiny,” Torrez said. “There’s nothing else to it. I don’t know how else to put it. What is love? It’s just kind of that same thing. I’m meant to be here. All I know is that.”

Torrez does extensive visualization of his bouts before he fights them, and he formulates detailed game plans with his coaches and his father back home in central California. He feels confident all the hard work will be done before he steps in the ring in Tokyo for the biggest bout of his life.

“This guy is a formidable foe,” Torrez said. “I’ve been in the ring with him before. I’m here to get a gold medal.”

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Man runs onto field during Tunisia-France match at World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — A man ran onto the field with what appeared to be a Palestinian flag midway through the second half of the World Cup match between Tunisia and France on Wednesday. The man ran across the field at Education City. He did some acrobatic jumps before security sprinted onto the field. […]
1 day ago
Germany's head coach Hansi Flick listens to questions during a news conference on the eve of the gr...
Associated Press

World Cup Viewer’s Guide: Germany must win for last-16 shot

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It’s a simple task for Germany in its final game of group stage: beat Costa Rica on Thursday or the four-time World Cup champions will go home early for a second consecutive tournament. Germany was knocked out as reigning World Cup champions in group play four years ago in Russia. But […]
1 day ago
FILE - Then-Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly smiles after throwing a ball to fans before a baseb...
Associated Press

Blue Jays hire Don Mattingly as bench coach

TORONTO (AP) — Don Mattingly is joining the Toronto Blue Jays as bench coach to manager John Schneider, the team announced Wednesday. The former New York Yankees slugger, a six-time All-Star, joins the Blue Jays after seven seasons as manager of the Florida Marlins, where he won NL Manager of the Year honors in 2020. […]
1 day ago
La Jolla Country Day high school point guard Jada Williams, center, drives to the basket during a b...
Associated Press

Social media makes Jada Williams a face of high school NIL

SAN DIEGO (AP) — It’s the middle of the afternoon and Jada Williams begins a live stream on Instagram. In a heartbeat, more than 1,000 of her 671,000 followers join the broadcast and begin typing in questions and comments. Williams does her best to follow along as the comments and questions scroll past. She laughs […]
1 day ago
Brazil's goalkeeper Alisson celebrates after Casemiro scored the opening goal during the World Cup ...
Associated Press

Defense coming through for attack-minded Brazil at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — For all the attacking power that Brazil brought to the World Cup, the defense has been impressing the most for the five-time champion in Qatar. After two matches, Brazil is yet to allow an attempt on target, and goalkeeper Alisson has been mostly a spectator. Defensive midfielder Casemiro has been nearly […]
1 day ago
Canada's head coach John Herdman reacts during the World Cup group F soccer match between Croatia a...
Associated Press

John Herdman wants to remain as Canada coach through 2026

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — John Herdman wants to remain as Canada’s coach through the 2026 World Cup in North America after leading the nation to its return to soccer’s top tournament. “Eleven years of work in this country and I’ve been pioneering for a long period of time, and you’ll not find anyone as passionate […]
1 day ago
US boxers Davis, Torrez can get revenge, win gold medals