DOWNERS GROVE — Before an amateur bout early in his career, the ring announcer mistakenly introduced Roy Navarro as Ray Navarro.
It's likely that mistake won't happen again anytime soon.
Making his professional boxing debut Saturday night at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., Navarro needed just 1:38 to knock out Justin Gauthier. The explanation for his success was simple.
"I just worked my butt off," Navarro said.
Hard work is nothing new to Navarro, a 21-year old Downers Grove resident and graduate of Glenbard West High School. He trained rigorously as a wrestler in high school, and currently works maintenance for a property ownership group during the day while training at night.
Navarro describes himself as restless; he feels like if he isn't doing something, then he wasting precious time. Soon after he graduated high school, he knew he wanted to become a boxer. When searching local boxing gyms in the area, Bob Miller's Fist Law Boxing Club popped up in an internet search, and Navarro paid a visit to the Downers Grove gym.
"I basically came in and said, 'I want to fight,'" Navarro said.
"He had never boxed a day in his life," Miller said. "But he came in and within a minute of working with him I realized he was something special."
Miller said Navarro always had the natural ability to be a successful boxer: fast hands, a heavy punch and a willingness to stand in close and work the body. His biggest gains since training with Miller have come between the ears.
"His biggest improvement has been his focus and his boxing intelligence," Miller said. "When you box, you have to be smart. It's not enough to be tough. Technique always beats strength, and that's where he's improved the most. He came in with raw power, and his work ethic and dedication allowed him to learn the other things and become a complete boxer."
Four years of training led to Navarro's first pro bout, and quickly his first win as a pro. It didn't take long for him to earn another fight, which is scheduled to take place in June at the Horseshoe, Miller said. Navarro is looking forward to the fight, but also to the training in the interim to get ready for it. It's part of what drew him to boxing and a big part of what makes him a successful fighter.
"I like the training, I like the conditioning and I like the physicality of it," Navarro said.
"He's the total package," Miller said. "He's got the athleticism, the work ethic and the determination. He does everything right."