Ruben Torres knows the sport well enough to not mistake his place as a headliner as an entitlement to star status.
“It’s an honor to headline Thompson Boxing’s first show of 2020, but even this—my third straight headliner—is still only the beginning of my career,” Torres (11-0, 9KOs) told BoxingScene.com ahead of his scheduled eight-round lightweight clash versus Gabino Cota.
The bout tops the first card of promoter Thompson Boxing’s 20th anniversary in the sport, which takes place Friday evening at Doubletree Casino in Ontario, California. The venue is all but a second home to the 22-year old Torres, with all but two career fights having taken place there. The other two have come in Corona, both locations relatively close to Santa Fe Springs where he moved in order to be closer to training headquarters.
“I’ve been with (current head trainer) Danny Zamora since the age of nine,” points out Torres, originally from South Central Los Angeles. “We moved out here to to be closer to training camp. Danny Z and Javier Gomez have had a major influence on me ever since I first started boxing.”
That level of loyalty means everything to Torres, who turned pro under the Thompson Boxing banner in August 2017. He has steadily rose through the ranks ever since, graduating to main event status last summer. Fitting for the occasion was his most experience opponent to date, former title challenger Ruben Tamayo whom Torres blasted out in two rounds last July at Doubletree.
His final fight of 2019 was a return to the familiar site, though in an even quicker appearance as Torres scored a 1st round knockout of Eduardo Rodriguez for his 5th win of the year. A stiffer test is expected on Friday versus Cota (19-10-2, 17KOs), a 26-year old light from Sonora, Mexico whose U.S. journey remains without a win but which does include a hard-fought draw with then-unbeaten prospect Hairon Socarras.
Whatever comes of Friday night, Torres will take it as a learning lesson in a career still in the experience-building phase.
“I haven’t come anywhere close to tapping into my full potential,” admits Torres. “That is my mission for 2020, to keep improving and to grow from an eight-round to a 10-round fighter. Thompson Boxing has a lot of confidence in me, and I have a lot of confidence in their plans for the future. I’m doing my part and they continue to do theirs.”
The bout and the six-fight card as a whole will stream live on Thompson Boxing’s social media channels, an atmosphere which Torres enjoys for this stage of his career. The same platform has produced a number of talented boxers who’ve gone onto much greener pastures, including former two-division champion Timothy Bradley and recently dethroned 122-pound unified titlist Daniel Roman among many others.
As much is expected of Torres not just by his team but by industry insiders who—quite frankly—don’t expect to see him on this circuit much longer.
“As of right now, my only focus is to continue winning,” states Torres. “But others, they expect to see me on (Showtime prospect-based series) ShoBox and other (platforms) in the near future. Beto Duran—who calls all of our fights—always tells me that my goal needs to be that he doesn’t commentate any more of my fights, meaning that I graduate to the next level.
“It means a lot that they all see greatness in my future. But I’m just taking it one fight at a time, one lesson in the ring at a time. I just want to keep fighting, keep learning and keep winning. The more I fight and the more I win, the bigger the check I will get to collect. That’s the path I am on right now, and will continue to work hard to advance to the next level.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox