Rising boxing sensation Sammy “Trouble” Torres has continued his upward trajectory this summer, earning gold medals in the Golden Gloves and Desert Showdown to go along with a silver medal in the prestigious Junior Olympics. That makes the Rancho San Justo seventh grader a six-time national champion.
At 5-foot-2 and 106 pounds, the 12-year-old Torres—he trains under Charles Perales at Hollister Boxing and is part of Team Trouble—has two major tournaments left this year, with the PAL Nationals in October and the U.S. National Championships in Salt Lake City on Dec. 3.
Torres’ showing in the Junior Olympics was a great result. The Junior Olympics feature boxers from around the world, making for the best competition. Torres might have lost the gold medal match by a split decision, but he came out of it a winner, said Team Trouble publicist Leo Alvarez.
“In the championship fight, he wasn’t given the decision everyone thought he deserved,” Alvarez said. “He took that defeat with his head (held) high.”
Torres said he’s even more motivated to come back next year and win a Junior Olympics title. Not that he needed any more motivation. Ever since Torres started boxing six years ago, he has displayed an indefatigable work ethic and maniacal attitude to be the best. He trains six to seven days a week, combining plenty of running with boxing drills and sparring, the latter which is done against 13, 14 and 15 year olds.
Torres takes pride in his conditioning, which will prove vital as he gets older. Currently, Torres’ matches involve three 1-minute rounds. By next year, his fights will be longer in length.
“My favorite workout is running because it helps me do rounds and spar (longer),” Torres said. “Coach pushes me every single day because I want to be a world champion one day.”
Torres competed in the Junior Olympics on June 28 through July 1 in West Virginia, the Golden Gloves tournament on July 21 and 22 and the Desert Showdown on July 29 and 30. In the Desert Showdown, Torres beat a two-time national champion en route to the title. Utilizing solid footwork and a quick-striking jab, Torres focuses on the fundamentals in every aspect of the sport.
“His jab sets up everything,” Alvarez said. “He’s really ring smart and knows where he is in the ring at all times. You can put a blindfold on him and he would still know how to box.”
Torres has experienced a big growth spurt in the last 10 months, which has given him added confidence.
“I feel stronger now that I’m taller,” he said.
Alvarez and Torres gave credit to Perales and Perales’ dad, Jonathan, for making everything possible. Hollister Boxing’s facilities have everything aspiring boxers need training-wise to get them to a high level. Like any young kid, Torres likes to play video games. But unlike a lot of kids, Torres prefers to work up a sweat and push himself physically everyday.
“The gym is his playground,” Alvarez said.