GLENDALE, Arizona – The chance to one day face and beat Bakhodir Jalolov in the pro ranks is among the goals Richard Torrez plans to accomplish as a pro.

How he was going to get to that point wasn’t immediately certain until his promoter, Top Rank, cleared a lane.

“When Top Rank signed him, my thought was—now we have a storyline,” Torrez told of the chance to face his old amateur rival. “There’s a direct path. For so long, it was discussing what happened and maybe one day we can do it again. Now, there’s a day this can happen.”

Top Rank officially announced its signing of Uzbekistan’s Jalolov (12-0, 12KOs) on July 1. Their first fight together will come August 26, when the 2020 Olympic Gold medalist will face Onoriode Ehwarieme as part of an ESPN-branded show from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The fight will come two weeks after Torrez (5-0, 5KOs) appears in the ring this Saturday. The 2020 Olympic Silver medalist from Tulare, California squares off versus Willie Jake Jr. (11-3-2, 3KOs) on an ESPN tripleheader from Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Emanuel Navarrete (37-1, 31KOs) puts his WBO junior lightweight title on the line versus countryman and former two-division titlist Oscar Valdez (31-1, 23KOs) in the ESPN-televised main event.

Torrez signed with Top Rank straight out of the Olympics, shortly after dropping a heartbreaking three-round decision to Jalolov in their super heavyweight final. Their amateur rematch came two years after Torrez suffered a frightening first-round knockout loss in their 2019 World Amateur Championships quarterfinal matchup in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Both have jumped out to strong starts to their respective pro careers, with either yet to go the distance. Torrez rattled off five straight knockouts—all in three rounds or less—through the first eleven months of his journey. A training camp injury forced him off a March 25 show, though the delay now puts him on the same schedule as Jalolov, whose Top Rank debut comes nine months after a fourth-round knockout of Curtis Harper.

An immediate head-on collision is hardly in the cards but Torrez is fine with using that dangling carrot overhead as motivation to build toward what he believes is an inevitable meeting.

“To be able to align my career to that opportunity is incredible,” stated Torrez. “Every time I fought him, I was getting better. I’m just thankful there’s now a link and an opportunity.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox