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Othello's Torres makes long-awaited return to ring

TACOMA -- Othello's David Torres is finally getting back into the ring.

It's been 15 months since the 31-year-old light welterweight has had a professional fight.

But tonight, he's set to box Mexico's Raymundo Beltran in the 10-round main event at the 75th Battle at the Boat boxing event at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma.

Torres is 21-1 with 13 knockouts, while Beltran is 22-14.

The undercard, which begins at 7 p.m., features George Foreman III in a heavyweight fight, with his famous father expected to be in attendance.

But the big show is set to be Torres.

Promoter Brian Halquist -- who wrestled for John Howard at Columbia Basin College back in the 1970s -- felt it was right to have Torres fight be the main event.

"David's been really, really good for us as far as a draw," Halquist said. "This is our 75th show and we wanted something special. David has fought 18 or 19 of his fights here. It's great to have him back."

Torres isn't sure why the Tacoma fans go nuts for him. But he's not complaining.

"It's probably the way I fight," he said. "I put pressure on the other fighter. I don't mess around, and I try to finish it as soon as possible."

Torres was 20-0 in June of 2008 when he took on former IBF lightweight champion Julio Diaz in an ESPN2-televised fight from the Playboy Mansion. Diaz earned a technical knockout in the fifth round.

Halquist looks back on that night with a touch of regret.

"I don't think we would have taken that fight because we thought (Diaz) was done," Halquist said. "David had never lost. That was a tough fight. I think he was frustrated. He beat some tough guys along the way. But that night he fought one of the great guys in his weight class and lost."

Torres moved on after that fight.

"I didn't feel bad," he said. "It was against a good champion."

Torres fought once more after that -- an 8-round unanimous decision over Zaid Zavaleta at the Emerald Queen in October of 2008.

Since then, he's had no professional fights. But it doesn't mean he hasn't been busy.

"I've been sparring in camps," said Torres. "The (Floyd) Mayweather camp, the Juan Diaz camp."

Othello's Lalo Martinez, Torres' trainer, said fights were set up a number of times over 2009, but they would always fall through.

"And we had some other offers," Martinez said. "But they were always two weeks before the fight. You need more time to get ready."

Tonight, he's ready. He's been training for this fight for two months.

There are two trains of thought involving a 15-month layoff in boxing -- either you'll be rusty or, because you haven't taken too many punches in that layoff, you'll be in great shape.

Halquist is hoping to see the latter.

"It's a great fight, it's a springboard fight," Halquist said. "It could mean another, tougher fight after that. And then, we could be talking a fight with Ricky Hatton."

First things first for Torres.

"I'm just happy to get back into the ring," he said.