Exclusive Interview: Joel Torres

By Socrates Palmer Jr


Exclusive Interview: Joel Torres

On May 15th after the conclusion of eight rounds, Joel “Joelo” Torres thought that at he was on his way to earning his 10th pro win at the expense of Chris Fernandez. However this victory was not meant to be for the Puerto Rican native. According to the score cards tallied by judges, George DeGabriel (77-75 Torres), Luis Rivera (74-78 Fernandez) and John Signorile (76-76 even) Torres and Fernandez were awarded draws for their respective efforts. For the aforementioned Fernandez he was given the benefit of the doubt for coming forward and taking leather on his face and had his record go to 15-4-1, and the undefeated Torres, had his first blemish on his record, (9-0-1). A decision which was as equally puzzling as it was unfair feels Torres.
“I respect the judges call, I stuck to my game plan and did what I could, bottom line I thought I did enough to win I landed the better shots I was never in trouble,” Torres.
Torres’s game plan had to suddenly be adjusted when in the 4th round of his fight he felt a stinging sensation travel through his left hand.
“I hurt my hand on his (Fernandez) elbow after throwing a left, and I felt a shock almost instantly run through my whole arm and then it was like heat went straight to my chest,” Torres.
The next four rounds for Torres were fought basically one handed. After the normal post fight medical screening, his hand was severely swollen. The heat that Torres described, likely made him forget about the cold symptoms that he was experiencing earlier in the week after his plane touched down to the Big Apple. An X-ray would reveal that Torres had more than just an initial deep hand bruise, in fact he suffered a ruptured a tendon on his middle finger. This injury will likely keep Torres out of action for the rest of the summer and likely most of the fall. Torres will be in the reputable hands of renowned hand specialist Dr. Charles Malone. Dr. Malone is scheduled to operate on Torres on June 9th.  Former world champions Arturo Gatti, Lennox Lewis and Oscar De La Hoya are a few of the house hold names that Dr. Malone has performed similar surgeries on in the past.
“I’m glad I was able to fight through the injury, obviously I did not know what exactly happened but I did know something was wrong. It’s part of boxing. I have confidence in this doctor, I know he’s worked with other fighters and they have been able to resume their careers and I expect to do the same,” Torres.
Torres in ring dilemma was a surprise to his corner, because the 23 year old kept his ailment a secret until after the final bell. Torres decided to man up and fight the last four rounds in obvious pain and discomfort. It also took away his primary weapon which is his left hook.
“I was told that it’s not a major injury and that the swelling will go down on its own but that it will be nagging and painful if I don’t get this done soon, so my team and I decided that it’s the best thing to do at this point, I thank God that it’s not a fracture,” Torres.
Torres despite having one hand felt he did enough to earn a decision and said that judge Luis Rivera made a big mistake.
“Everybody there that night came up to me and said I got a bad decision. I did my job and tried to fight through a bad situation. I out boxed him and I expected the judge to do his job correctly. Bad judging hurts boxing and it makes people think twice of weather or not they should spend their time and money watching it, but unfortunately its part of the game. It not only turns fans away but it also hurts boxers more than any punch,” Torres.
According to Torres’ manager Ricardo Figueroa, his fighter definitely won the fight and that despite the decision not going their way that they are ready to move on, after Joelo’s recovery. This hand injury will prevent Torres from taking part of the undercard of fellow countryman and also Dibella entertainment stable mate Carlos “El Indio” Quintana’s title defense on June 7th versus Paul “The Punisher” Williams. Torres will likely make his return in late November or December and more than likely this next bout will be in his native Puerto Rico.
“I’m in good spirits, Lou Dibella said that he was going to bring me back and he will stick by me, I’m confident in him and his company he is a good promoter and I’ve enjoyed working with him and everyone over there has been good to me. I am also blessed with a great manager in Ricardo (Figueroa) I’m also confident I will be back strong. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and back in a New York ring, to me its like home. My prayers are with the boxing fans and my entire team,” Torres.
After surgery Torres’s hand will be in a cast for about two months and then promptly he will begin his rehab sessions in New York.


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