By Louis Briscese 60th Air Mobility Wing
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., March 22, 2017 — The traditional means for staying “fit to fight” typically requires a balance of running, weight training and a proper diet.
Air Force Capt. Eduardo Torrez, an emergency room staff nurse with the 60th Medical Operations Squadron here, uses boxing to stay in shape.
“I’ve been boxing on and off now for 24 years, mostly in my military career,” Torrez said. “I started when I was 15.”
A former Army sergeant, who spent eight years on active duty before joining the National Guard, Torrez has had more than 50 amateur fights, winning more than 90 percent of them.
“Most of my amateur fights came while I was in the Army stationed in Germany, traveling with our installation team throughout Europe,” Torrez said. “We had a core group of soldiers who would travel to different bases fighting other service members or local nationals.”
Though he was offered multiple professional contracts, he said, money wasn’t enough to entice him to leave the Army. He said he believes he would have made the all-Army boxing team as well, but his job requirements prevented him from trying out.
“Those circumstances are usually mostly about timing, where you’re stationed and the command you are assigned too,” he added. “I was certainly good enough to make the team, but too many obstacles prevented me from trying out.”
Decision to Give Up Boxing
After college, Torrez joined the Air Force and made the choice to give up boxing for good. He packed up his gear and was going to donate it to the JL Tepito Boxing Club in Fairfield, California. When he arrived at the club, he met the owner, Jesse Lopez Sr., a Golden Gloves champion boxer from Mexico.
“I told Jesse I was getting too old for this,” Torrez said. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Don’t ever say that you’re too old to box. I was in my 40s and 50s, still sparring against professional boxers.’”
That encounter motivated Torrez to continue boxing and established a friendship and mentorship with Lopez, who now helps him train.
“I can easily see that he has a lot of boxing talent,” Lopez said. “He’s an extremely hard worker and is always giving younger fighters advice and pointers.”
Torrez uses boxing now to keep fit and to inspire others to do the same by leading training classes with his co-workers, something he started doing during a deployment to Bagram, Afghanistan.
“I started a boxing club where I could train members from all services to box,” he said. “After my deployment, I continued that training at Travis.”
The training has helped his co-workers prepare for their fitness tests. One who has benefited tremendously is Air Force Staff Sgt. Antonio Sixto, an emergency room paramedic with the 60th MDOS.
“I’ve been attending training sessions for over a year now, and have shed 45 pounds, which has helped me greatly with my PT test,” Sixto said. “I am able to max out in push-ups [and] situps and still have enough gas left for the run. I’m actually training for a fight now, and hope to be in the ring within a few months.”
The amount of training, dieting and time necessary in boxing requires a level of dedication and determination to be successful, Torrez said.
“From the physical perspective, it’s probably one of the best ways to get in shape,” he added. “For me, it’s the only way I know of cutting weight and getting ready for my PT test. Boxing also requires a mental strength, because it definitely takes a different type of dedication to put on a pair of gloves and be willing to take a punch or give a punch.”
Aside from the physicality of boxing, Torrez said, he believes there’s a real connection to the Comprehensive Airman Fitness mental domain, which promotes the overall well-being of airmen.
“Boxing is a mentality. You see a dedication around these kids, and it translates into life, work, and even in the military,” Torrez said. “There’s a discipline and hunger involved with boxing. It’s humbling, because you come across someone who’s better than you, and it requires you to step back and know your limits.”