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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Navarro Inspired by Brother

September 19, 2000|From Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia — Jose Navarro took a step toward what he fervently hopes will be an Olympic boxing gold medal. The teenager from South-Central Los Angeles is sick of silver.

Navarro, who has nine silver medals from various competitions, outpointed Hermensen Ballo of Indonesia, 16-10, at 112 pounds today and became the seventh U.S. boxer to advance.

Jermain Taylor was scheduled to fight Dimitri Usagin of Bulgaria at 156 pounds later tonight in the Sydney Convention Center.

The first seven Cubans to box also have won. Today, Juan Hernandez, an Olympic silver medalist in 1992 and '96 and four-time world champion at 147 pounds, stopped Stephane Nzue Mba of Gabon in the third round on the 15-point rule, 17-2, at 156 pounds, and Manuel Mantilla outpointed Kim Tai-kyu of South Korea, 20-8, at 112 pounds.

Marin Simion of Romania, a 1996 Olympic silver medalist and 1999 world champion, outboxed Ciro Fabio di Corcia of Italy, 19-8.

"I'm getting tired of silver medals," said Navarro, who needs to win four more fights to get a gold.

The 19-year-old Navarro, however, has achieved one goal just by getting to Sydney four years after his 22-year-old brother, Carlos, 22-1 as a pro, failed to make the team for the Atlanta Olympics. Carlos was in the stands today and Jose could hear him shouting instructions.

"I could hear him telling me to throw the 1-2, and I did that. He knows what he's talking about."

Navarro, however, was lacking fatherly advice, because Carlos Sr. missed his flight. He has two other brothers and eight sisters.

"When my brother didn't make it, it was the last chance in my family, and I wasn't going to let the family down," Navarro said upon qualifying for the Olympics.

Navarro, a left-hander, led only 7-6 after two rounds, taking the lead on a left with five seconds left.

"I felt a little tense at the beginning of the fight," said Navarro. "I picked it up in the third round. These are the Olympics. I have no choice but to pick it up or you go home."

Navarro found the range with his right in the third round and outscored Ballo, 6-1.

Ballo closed to 13-9 early in the fourth round before Navarro answered with a straight right and right uppercut. The two boxers exchanged scoring blows just before the final bell.

Navarro's second-round opponent will be Hickem Mesbahi of Morocco.

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