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“Pitbull” Torres: “This one’s for Johnny Tapia!”

Interview by Gerardo Martinez
Photos by Jose Leon Castillo

It has been a little over a month since Josh “Pitbull” Torres (7-1-1, 4 KO’s) tragically lost his head trainer, five-time world champion Johnny Tapia – but that hasn’t stopped one of New Mexico’s hottest prospects in trying to follow in his former mentor’s footsteps. This weekend, when Torres goes up against what he considers his toughest opponent to date in Longmont, Colorado’s Raul “El Chino” Carrillo (9-1, 6 KO’s), he vows to come home with a win in memory of “Mi Vida Loca.”

The welterweight showdown will be the main event and will be taking place in Carrillo’s adopted hometown. The last time Torres fought out of town he earned his first loss. This time, says Torres, it’ll be different.

This week we caught up the “Pitbull” at the Team Tapia Boxing Academy in preparation for his aformentioned fight on June 30th. Here’s what Albuquerque’s welterweight prospect had to say.

What’s your plan for defeating Raul “El Chino” Carrillo?

My plan is to box him and use angles. I want to hit him and hurt him early that way he will know he chose the wrong opponent

How do you feel about this being your second fight out of state?

I feel real good. My first loss out of state I was not at my full potential. I thank Johnny for instilling the confidence in myself and believing in me.

Speaking of Johnny, how have things change here at the gym?

It’s different as far as his presence. His presence and energy were always felt. It’s a little more quiet now, but we are still working hard. It feels different, but we are still focused on the job that lies ahead.

Would you consider Raul Carrillo as your toughest opponent?

Yes, right next to Janks Trotter. Definitely one of my tougher opponents, but I know that in order to be a champion you have to fight guys like him. I’m not trying to run from anybody, I’m not trying to build a pretty record. I’m just here to prove myself and fighting is the only way to do it.

You have a common opponent in Kansas pug Joel Vargas, but with different results, any comments?

He’s tough, but it’s not going to come down to toughness. I feel I’m just as tough and it’s going to come down to skill level and I feel I bring a good skill level.

Who have you been sparring in preparation?

I’ve been sparring Hector, there’s no better pressure fighter to prepare for someone like Carrillo than Hector. We had guys as far as Tudy (Crespin), Michael Gallegos and other fighters from FIT-NHB.

Besides getting ready for this fight you still have a full time job right?

Yes, bills got to be paid right now. We are still climbing the ladder. Hopefully one day I will be a full time boxer. It’s definitely hard getting up at six in the morning to get ready for work, then workout and run after. I usually don’t get home until eight at night. I think it makes me a better fighter, pushing myself to the limit. It’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make. (Torres works as a barber at Jake’s Barber Shop in the Barelas neighborhood of Albuquerque.)

What do you expect to happen if you are victorious?

It’s a tough fight, but once I win we are looking for big things. Maybe a youth title. You know what they say “Don’t leave the fight in the hands of the judges, leave your opponent in the hands of the judges”.

Why did you decide to take on this challenge?

I feel I have something to prove. I feel that my whole career I’ve been underrated. I feel like I’ve been sitting on the sidelines and in the shadows of other great fighters and I feel like my time is now.

Any last comments?

This fight and every day in training is dedicated to Johnny. The victory will be dedicated to Johnny.




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