The wait for the U.S. men’s boxing team will go on. Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, heavily favored going into this Olympics to win gold, did just that by beating Richard Torrez Jr of the United States, winning the super heavyweight division and closing the boxing in Tokyo.
Torrez, who had a strong run to the final, did better than the last time he met Jalolov, when he was brutally knocked out by the Uzbek in 2019. He had a solid game plan of careful pressure, bursts of attack, and staying very low, as he was giving up a lot of height and reach to Jalolov in the first place, and looked to make it as tough as possible for Jalolov to establish an easy rhythm with the jab and set up power shots.
Torrez did win the majority in the first round, taking three of five cards, but Jalolov found his rhythm in the second, landing good shots every time Torrez got one in and then some. The length of Jalolov, combined with the fact that he’s also very good and not simply tall, was just too much.
Torrez’s silver medal is, again, the first medal the U.S. has had in this division since Riddick Bowe’s silver in 1988. But the denial of gold means that Andre Ward in 2004 remains the last U.S. men’s gold medalist in boxing.
The Team USA men did claim three silver medals this year. Along with Torrez, silvers went to lightweight Keyshawn Davis and featherweight Duke Ragan.
Jalolov’s gold medal is the only boxing medal for Uzbekistan in Tokyo, following a massive showing at Rio 2016 where the nation won seven boxing medals in all, three of them gold.