Richard Torrez Jr. (through Instagram @theerichardtorrez)
Again in September, Richard Torrez Jr. thought he would attempt one thing new. The 2020 US Olympic heavyweight silver medalist is adventurous like that. This, nonetheless, was a little bit completely different. On a Tuesday morning, Torrez walked right into a mirrored studio with a health club bag slung over his shoulder and his Olympic-rings tank prime tucked into his sweatpants. As quickly as he entered, he may really feel the sideways stares with every step he took on the hardwood ground.
He discovered himself surrounded by stretching, pixie-like girls and some males in tights off to the aspect, leaping and seemingly floating on air.
“Oh man, that is loopy,” was Torrez’s first thought. “What did I get myself into?”
Welcome to “Intro to Ballet” on the School of the Sequoias (COS), in Tulare, California, in session every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 am to 10 am
Nobody goes to name the 6-foot-2, 225-pound, third-generation boxer “Twinkle Toes” Torrez anytime quickly, however the burgeoning 22-year-old southpaw is discovering ballet extremely intriguing in relation to enhancing his steadiness. and footwork.
That can be examined this Saturday when Torrez (3-0, 3 knockouts) takes on 38-year-old Ahmed Hefny (13-2, 5 KOs) in a six-rounder on the undercard of the Vasiliy Lomachenko-Jamaine Ortiz light-weight major occasion within the Hulu Theater at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York (ESPN+ 10 pm ET/7 pm PT).
“I keep in mind after I walked into my first [ballet] class and everybody was form of taking a look at me, like, ‘Who’s this massive man?’ and thought why I used to be even there,” Torrez stated. “However when the instructor got here round and also you begin studying your plies (pronounced plee-ays) and échappés (pronounced ay-sha-PAYs), and also you get one of many strikes down, you are like, ‘That is actually cool. ‘ I received to some shuffle jumps and I started considering that the strikes actually related to boxing. Among the strikes are nearly the identical actual factor. A spin transfer, a shift in your weight — all of it connects to boxing.
“It received form of attention-grabbing. As I maintain going and maintain going, and since I am an enormous dude on this class, the one factor I do quite a bit is throw the women. I choose them up and throw them round. We’ve a recital coming in December and we’ll do it in entrance of all our family and friends. I can not wait.”
Within the meantime, Torrez has been coaching for his fourth skilled battle.
He says the ballet class has supplied greater than only a means to enhance his footwork; it has additionally been an ideal distraction from boxing. Torrez’s grandfather, Manuel Torrez, was the Southwest USA Golden Gloves champion, and his father, Richard Torrez Sr., tried out for the Olympics in 1984 and now trains Richard Jr.
Richard Jr. took faucet dancing final semester at COS. He is presently taking three lessons together with engaged on a personal pilot’s license.
“I like doing various things, and each dad and mom are college directors; my mother and sister are academics and schooling is a excessive precedence in my household,” stated Torrez, who would finally prefer to get a philosophy diploma. “They’ve burned schooling into me since I used to be a little bit child. I assumed attempting ballet was completely different. It is actually been an superior expertise. You need to know the place your ft are at all times. I do not really feel sluggish and torpid anymore after I eat.”
Between a brand new dietary flip, ballet and faucet dancing, Torrez’s physique fats has gone performed from 18 % a 12 months in the past to 8-10 % at this time. He plans on working his jab, using feints and displaying his tenacity towards Hefny, who’s 2-2 over his final 4 fights. Torrez additionally desires to work on angles and see how his footwork has improved.
In December, Torrez can be taking part in the light beast character Gaston in Magnificence and the Beast. On Saturday, Torrez is aiming for his inside boxing beast to floor.
However who is aware of the place this ballet journey may go?
“Yeah, I could possibly be in a world-class ballet one weekend, and preventing for a heavyweight championship the subsequent,” Torrez stated, laughing. “I simply have to ensure to place the ballet tutu in the appropriate spot.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Journal/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America.