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Torres falls short of national title

Javier Torres' unlikely run at the U.S. Boxing National Championships in Denver ended with a 31-12 loss to Michael Hunter Jr. on Saturday in the super heavyweight division title bout.

Torres, a 2006 graduate of South Medford High, trailed Hunter just 7-6 midway through the second round before Hunter pulled away.

"He was in the fight," said Jimmy Pedrojetti, who trained Torres with the Medford Bulldog Boxing Club. "Even in the end, he was just trying to land some big bombs. He knew he had to knock him out. But Hunter was smart and kept running around."

Pedrojetti said Torres showed some signs of fatigue in the energetic match that saw both boxers land solid punches.

It was Torres' fourth fight in five nights, and he was fighting up a weight division. Torres failed to qualify in the heavyweight division, but he was given another chance when a spot in the super heavyweight division opened.

Torres defeated Trevor Bryan of Michigan 12-8 in the semifinals on Friday. He posted an 11-10 victory over national Gold Gloves finalist Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia in his opener and then defeated Aaron Green of Minnesota 27-23.

"It was a great story," Pedrojetti said. "He wasn't even supposed to be in it. It's quite an accomplishment for Javier to do that. I'm just proud."

Hunter Jr., of Las Vegas, was the only repeat champion of the event. He was also a 2008 Olympic qualifier.

It was a comeback of sorts for Hunter, who was disqualified from his quarterfinal bout.

Hunter beat Lenroy Thompson 8-7 in Wednesday's match but was disqualified for using too much gauze on his hands. He appealed the ruling, and the arbitrators ruled in his favor, restoring the super heavyweight into the semifinals of the championships.

Given another chance, he won easily in the semifinals before defeating Torres.

"I'm glad I got my shot and nothing phony happened again," Hunter said.

Pedrojetti said Torres will next fight at the National PAL Championships in September in Oxnard, Calif.

"I think he (Torres) needed more experience," Pedrojetti said of Saturday's bout. "It was a big stage. He just lacks experience on the national and international level. But I thought he fought pretty well. Hunter uses a lot of movement and he's got pretty quick hands."

Michael Hunter, right, and Javier Torres exchange blows in the super heavyweight title fight on Saturday. - AP