Ragan and Torrez Jr. Clinch Medals for Team USA
by Brian Taylor, USA Boxing
Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.) clinched two more medals for Team USA during the ninth day of boxing competition at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Ragan’s 3-2 decision victory over Kurt Walker of Ireland secured USA Boxing’s first medal of the day, as well as having Ragan become the first USA Boxing featherweight to medal at an Olympic Game since Ricardo Juarez won silver at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Ragan began the bout extremely strong to take all five judges’ cards after strong use of his jab to control the fight. The second round saw Walker come out much stronger, even with a cut over his eye seeming to open, leading to Irelands top featherweight to take three out of the five cards and closing in on the American.
Heading into the final round, two judges had Ragan up 20-18, while the other three had the fight tied. With a medal on the line, both boxers knew they had to give it their all to be victorious. The round, which was giving to Walker by a 4-1 score, was not enough for the Irishman to take the win, as the lone judge to give the round to Ragan had it tied after two, giving Ragan the winning end of the split decision.
Ragan, who becomes USA Boxing’s first professional boxer to medal at an Olympic Games, will look to improve his already guaranteed bronze medal to silver or gold with a win in Tuesday’s semifinal bout with Samuel Takyi of Ghana, the African Olympic Qualifier Tournament champion.
Torrez grabbed Team USA’s third medal, and first super heavyweight medal for Team USA since 1988, of these Olympic Games following a 4-1 decision over Cuba’s Dainier Pero.
Down 4-1 after the first round, Torrez increased his output in the second round, throwing and landing numerous punches that were visibly taking a tole on the Cuban. At the end of the bell, the American super heavyweight grabbed three cards that round, leaving the score tied on four of the five judges’ cards and one in favor of Pero.
Torrez showed his conditioning and heart during the third round, landing more punches and keeping constant presser on his opponent, who seemed to be fading quickly. Torrez was awarded in the end, winning all five judges’ cards in the third round, leaving him victorious.
The American will have a few days of rest before taking to the ring on Wednesday, August 4 against Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev.
Boxing will have a rest day tomorrow, August 2, before resuming on Tuesday, August 3, which will see Ragan be joined by lightweight Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.). A win for Davis will secure a fourth medal for Team USA.
Stay updated with USA Boxing's performances in Tokyo here.
Day 9 Results
57 kg: Duke Ragan, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA, dec. over Kurt Walker/IRL, 3-2
91+ kg: Richard Torrez Jr., Tulare, Calif./USA, vs. Dainier Pero/CUB, 4-1
On his fight performance:
“I’ll give myself a C-. I’ll need to give a better performance. I came out strong in the first round but in the second round he came to fight. It was an even fight then and the third round gave me the win.”
On where he needs to improve:
“Just being first to the punch, not waiting and trying to counter. I sat back a lot; in the second round he took advantage of that. In the third round we were both in there fighting.”
On securing a medal at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:
“It feels good, but I came for gold and I won’t be satisfied until I get that. I thought my chance at going to the Olympics was over last year (when they were postponed) which is why I turned pro.
“Now I’ll always be an Olympic medalist. It feels good. Bronze is cool, but I don’t really like that color.”
On winning the fight:
“It’s great but we’re not here for a medal, we’re here for a gold, and that’s my goal. I can’t wait to get off the phone with my dad, tell him what we did.”
On whether there’s a feeling of accomplishment:
“I’ve been a medalist before and medals are great, but I’m not here to be a medalist, I’m here to be a gold medalist. That’s my goal. That’s my ambition.
"Yes, I’m happy. Yes, I know I can go back and I can almost hang my hat off this but that’s not what I’m here to do.
"I’m here to be a gold medalist and I’m not going to be happy unless I do that.”
On starting the fight aggressively:
“We adapt and conquer. We got him with the game plan.
"My dad talked to my coach, coach Bailey talked to my dad, we came together with all the coaching staff, the super great team that I have with me this year.
"It’s something we’ve been planning for a long time.”
On if he felt as if he wore his opponent out:
“I firmly believe I am the most conditioned super heavyweight there is. I firmly believe that.
"I’m not one to toot my own horn much, I’m not one to say I’m the best ever, but I can tell you I’m the best conditioned.
"I can tell you I go in there with 100% of my heart and give my all every time. That’s a fact. I will not say I ever left anything in that ring.”
On how nervous he was just before the judge’s verdict was announced:
“At that point you can’t help but feel nervous. You gave your all in that ring, and I gave my all. Of course there’s going to be jitters and anything like that.
"At the end of the day I know I gave the best I could give.”
On how he felt when it was announced he had won:
“It was a great relief and I get to relish this for a little bit longer.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images