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BOXING : With 2 Big Wins, Navarro Emerges as the Golden Boy

August 08, 1993|CHARLES SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

This year is turning out to be a golden one for boxer Carlos Navarro.

The South-Central native captured his second gold medal in four months on Aug. 1 at the U.S. Olympic Festival in San Antonio. Navarro, 16, also took first place in the 112-pound division in May at the National Golden Gloves in Arkansas.

Navarro attributed much of his success to his trainer, Gabriel Ruelas, who is the No.1-ranked contender in the 130-pound division and registered with USA Boxing as an amateur coach. "He has been helping me with skill techniques and to improve my power and (ring) movement," said Navarro, who was awarded the Golden Boy Award as the most outstanding boxer at the Golden Gloves tournament.

At the Olympic Festival, Navarro easily outpointed Danny Gonzales of Fort Worth, Tex., 50-6, in a semifinal bout July 30.

"I knew how to fight Danny because he was shorter than me, (which meant) he had to come to me and make it a close fight in order to be effective," Navarro said. "I had to box against him and, fortunately, my jab was working."

Two days later, in the finals, Navarro faced a bigger and stronger opponent in Byron Moore of Fort Bragg, N.C.

However, Navarro was able to effectively adjust his boxing strategy and come away with a 42-16 decision.

"I had to pressure Byron because he was my size (5-foot-6)," Navarro said, "he was a lot stronger, too, so I had to wear him down."

Navarro, whose record is 64-9, plans to continue to train with Ruelas and hopes to participate in international dual meets.

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Elite meet--Adan Reyes, 14, of South-Central is one of four boxers in the 100-pound weight class attending an elite training camp at the Olympic Education Center in Marquette, Mich., which started Aug. 1 and runs through Friday.

At the end of the camp, Reyes will participate in a box-off in his weight class and have the chance to box two of the top three boxers in his division.

They are: No. 1-ranked Jesus Vega of Salinas, second-ranked Frank Durst of Augusta, Ga., and third-ranked Jessie Perez of Fort Worth. Reyes is ranked No. 4.

Reyes has amassed a 41-12 record in more than three years of boxing. He won a gold medal in the Police Athletic League National Invitational in Marquette, and lost a semifinal round bout in the Silver Gloves in Lenexa, Kan., last year.

This year, Reyes won a silver medal at the Silver Gloves and a bronze medal at the Junior Olympic National Tournament in Gulfport, Miss.

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Grecian formula--East L.A.'s Paul Gonzales, who won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics, recently returned from Greece, where he was one of three Americans invited to study the Olympic movement and what it means to be an Olympian.

Gonzales believes the true spirit of the Olympic Games is being destroyed.

"The first athletes used to compete for the olive reef, which symbolized victory and championship," Gonzales said. "Many modern participants play for endorsements, which equals money."

"I think the (basketball) Dream Team was wrong because they were professional basketball players, and professionals give up their Olympic rights because they play for money. The Dream Team was put together because it was a marketable concept. Professional boxers can't fight in the Olympics because boxers wouldn't draw as much money as they would in a professional championship bout on closed-circuit television. The Olympics was intended to pit the nation's best amateur athletes against one another."

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