The first time Ricardo Lucio-Galvan set foot in a boxing gym, he walked up to the head trainer, Thelma Tavares, to introduce himself. Her first two words to Lucio-Galvan: “Glove up.” Immediately thrown into the fire, 10-year-old Lucio-Galvan was forced to spar against an experienced boxer two years older than him. For a kid who had no prior fighting experience, much less in a boxing ring, the three-minute sparring session seemed like a drawn-out torture session as he was hit with one thunderous combination after another–all the while unable to throw any punches in return. Afterward, overcome with emotion, Lucio-Galvan felt defeated and began to cry. To his surprise, Tavares gave him a warm embrace and congratulated him on his toughness, as most novices would have run out of the ring or begged to stop the fight.

“I was scared because I was a beginner,” Lucio-Galvan said. “I had seen it on TV before, guys getting cuts on their eyebrows or getting their noses broken. But after Thelma comforted me after the first sparring session, she really welcomed me to her gym and her boxing family.”

Lucio-Galvan is a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has gone a long way since his first sparring session at the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. He has fought in the amateur ranks for almost half his life and is regarded as one of the top fighters in the Reno amateur boxing circuit. His current amateur record is 67-9-0, a record that includes a win over Devin Haney, who Floyd Mayweather Sr. regards as the “next Floyd Jr.”.

“When he was a kid, I signed him up for soccer but he was very timid and let the other kids push him around,” said Lucio-Galvan’s father, Ricardo Lucio-Falcon. “I chose boxing because he was a calm kid who didn’t get easily mad and thought that boxing would be something he would be very good at and would be good for him.”

Initially, Lucio-Galvan was supposed to only train as a means to toughen up for soccer. In his first amateur fight, a fight in which he flustered his opponent with a bombardment of three punch combinations while forcing two standing eight counts, he found himself bloodthirsty for more competition.

“When I used to play soccer, I enjoyed it but I didn’t win any awards or trophies,” Lucio-Galvan said. “Winning my first trophy in boxing is what made me fall in love with the sport. Having my own sense of accomplishment, knowing that if I worked hard that I was going to win—that became my motivation to fight.”

What was supposed to be three months of boxing turned into ten years of year-round training. In boxing, especially in the amateur ranks, one’s reputation is earned through winning matches and building up your record. Since he first started boxing in 2009, Lucio-Galvan has averaged eight fights a year, without any respites in training in hopes of one day pursuing a professional career.

“When I first started, I went for just an hour at the gym and did a little bit of everything: jump rope, hit the bags, do a little bit of mitts,” Lucio-Galvan said. “When I chose to get involved more seriously, I started running in the mornings and trained three hours a day in the gym.”

His father, Ricardo Sr. who is also his trainer and has amateur boxing experience from his fighting days in Mexico, has helped guide Ricardo throughout his boxing career. While he never envisioned his son to be a boxer from the get-go, once Lucio-Galvan made the decision to continue boxing as a potential career path, he approved under the condition that he continue to do well in his academics while also committing to always give his best effort in any extracurricular activity he wanted to pursue–which in this case was boxing. Long winded, confusing sentence. Consider simplifying.

Given his experience with boxing both in Mexico and Reno, Lucio-Falcon has worked hard not only to keep his son on the right path in the ring but also to try to keep him away from the dirty side of boxing.

“There is a lot of favoritism and mafia involved in boxing and I wanted to be there to guide him in the right direction,” Lucio-Falcon said. “One of the things that I am proud of is that he always tries to do the right thing, like helping the kids in the neighborhood with their schoolwork or just being a good person.”

Growing up, boxing became a huge part of Lucio-Galvan’s identity. However, it was equally important for him to stay true to the morals his parents instilled in him despite gaining success in his boxing career. Outside of the ring, Lucio-Galvan serves as a mentor to the younger boxers in the gym. He is always willing to lend a hand in teaching them the fundamentals or by merely providing moral support.

Throughout his schooling, he put an emphasis on helping translate for kids who struggled in speaking English.

“When I was younger, I used to live in apartments,” Lucio-Galvan said. “I would hang out with the kids a lot and a lot of them needed help in translating from Spanish to English. Since I’m bilingual, I always want to help those who can’t speak English and also just try to make it a point to help others.”

This past fall, Lucio-Galvan began his college education as a Pre-Business Major. While most freshmen are still deciding what major they want to pursue, he already has his plan A and B.

“A lot of boxers just box,” Lucio-Galvan said. “They don’t go to school. There are a lot of boxers that don’t have a college diploma. In the future, I want to be able to have a boxing title and also a business degree in college. As I continue on in boxing, I want to make my own business promotions company through my degree to help promote and develop the skills of the younger generation.”

After a decorated amateur career, Lucio-Galvan is ready to parlay his accolades and take the next step: to declare pro and start from scratch. While he and his team are still working with the promoters to set a fight date, Lucio-Galvan is patiently sticking to his four-hours-a-day training regimen to stay sharp and ready. As he gets set to delve into uncharted territory, this time around, Lucio-Galvan is not the same kid who walked into his first sparring session rattled and discouraged. Instead, he comes into the professional ranks as one of the best boxers to come out of the Reno boxing circuit in recent years and has more than a puncher’s chance to become something great.

“I want to start in the featherweight division and slowly move up divisions,” Lucio-Galvan said. “I want to become a world champion. It’s been my dream ever since I won that little trophy from my childhood. But I don’t want to just be a champion in one division. I want to be a multi-divisional champion and win at least three divisions.”

THE FILE ON RICARDO LUCIO GALVAN

19 years old

5’7”

130 lbs (Featherweight)

Orthodox style

67-9-0

5 KOs

· Boys and Girls Club Boxer of the Year (2009, 2010)

· Cinco De Mayo Tournament Champion (2012)

· Idaho Silver Belt Invitational Champion (2013, 2014)

· Junior National Golden Gloves Finalist (2012, 2013)

· Desert Showdown Finalist (2012, 2013)

 

Notable Fights: Unanimous Decision over Team USA’s Devin Haney