Boxer Isaac Torres, 18, of Mission, took home the gold medal at the Games of Texas Boxing Tournament, held July 22—26 in San Antonio.

I spoke with his mother, Pam Torres, just before Isaac went into the ring. “I’m headed to church right now,” she said. “I’ve already asked the priest to pray that Isaac doesn’t get hurt.”

Afterward, a text-message stating, “HE WON!” came from Isaac’s head trainer Johnny Garcia.

Isaac Torres has boxed for more than 10 years and dreams of competing in the 2012 Olympic Games. It seems Torres is not far from realizing his Olympic dream.

“It was a real good tournament, and I ended up winning the world title,” Torres said during an interview later. “I finished number one in the country. I feel like I’m unstoppable, like no one can beat me right now.”

This was Torres’ fifth gold medal in the Games of Texas, all in different weight divisions, but his first title as an adult, and first in the 125 weight division.

“It feels different than it did when I won in the juniors because now I’m fighting in the men’s division,” Torres said. “To make the 125 division was pretty tough for me because I walk around at 120-121. So when I was training in Austin, the coach had me on protein shakes and a lot of stuff to help me gain weight. I was eating a lot more than I usually do.”

Although Torres won the gold at the higher weight division, he struggled to keep his momentum going.

“Fighting at 125 was a lot different than fighting at 119,” Torres said. “Believe me when I tell you five pounds is a lot! I felt heavy and sluggish and couldn’t move around the way I usually move. My punches were not as crisp; the weight just wore me down.”

After the fight, Torres vowed to lose the weight and stay at a more comfortable 119 weight division.

“I told my coach (Zeke Torres, who also is Isaac’s father) that this is the last time I fight at 125,” Torres said, “and I went back down to 119 for ring-side in time for the World Championships in Kansas, held August 4-8. I just breezed through that tournament. It seemed like an easy win for me.”

Now, the stage is set for Torres to win the National PALS Boxing Tournament, scheduled Oct. 18-24 in San Antonio.

“The next tournament at the National PALS is an Olympic qualifier,” Torres said. “That’s where I’m going to get the points I need to move up my ranking, so I’ll definitely be in the Olympic trials in 2011.”

For the time being, Torres plans to train hard to get ready for the October event. “I’ll be going back to my strength and conditioning specialist Jaime Cavazos,” he said. “He has helped me a lot, and, of course, I’ll continue to work with my main coach and boxing trainer Johnny Garcia. We’ll be doing our workouts here at Pump24 gym.”

To give him an extra edge, Torres says his brother Tony Torres — a Toughman champion and MMA fighter and trainer — will also be training him.

“Just bringing Tony in will help me a lot because he’s my brother,” Torres said. “He’s been helping me since I was four, and he’ll be working with me on my sparring. So together we’re going to take it to another level.”

Moving up the ranks has given Torres the confidence he needs to win, and he says this new-found self-assurance has made all the difference.

“I remember a time when I would go in to tournaments thinking, ‘I have to watch out for this guy and that guy,’” Torres said. “This time I went in thinking, ‘These guys had better watch out for ME; they have to beat ME to be champion.’ And that’s the thing that has changed a lot with me. I’m humble and quiet outside the ring, but inside the ring it’s down to business.”

Isaac remains firm in his goal to eventually become a lawyer when the boxing comes to an end.

“That day will come, and I always have an eye on my future,” Isaac said, “but for now I’m on the top of the world as an athlete!”

To watch Isaac Torres’ fights, go to www.youtube.com and type in “Isaac Torres.” Also visit www.usaboxing.org.