University of Nevada, Reno business major Ricardo Lucio-Galvan has been hitting the books for more than a year, awaiting his chance to return to the sweet science of boxing.
Undefeated, Lucio-Galvan, 21, will end a 14-month layoff on April 25, when he enters the ring at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas. His opponent has yet to be named.
“I’ve been having that itch to get back in the ring,” said the featherweight who has won both of his professional fights by knockout. “We’re going to pick up right where we left off and continue the streak.”
Since Lucio-Galvan’s third-round TKO victory against Kenny Guzman on Feb 16, 2018, a potential bout was canceled when his opponent failed to make weight. It would have been his third fight in Reno.
He signed a four-year contract in October with VegasChamp Boxing. The plan is for Lucio-Galvan to have three or four bouts a year. Las Vegas is the likely site for many of them.
VegasChamp Boxing’s Bill Nelson has been cautious about accepting fights for Lucio-Galvan. Nelson co-owns the management company with Marvin Simeon and they have 25 boxers in their growing stable.
“If he would have fought everybody that’s been offered to him, he’d probably have had 10 fights,” Nelson said. “But I am real particular about who I want to put Ricardo in with.”
‘Ricardo can become a world champion’
“I’ve been in the boxing business a long time,” he explained. “With my family over the years, we’ve worked with 11 world champions. I truly believe with all my experience that Ricardo can become a world champion. He has that special thing about him that most fighters don’t have.”
Lucio-Galvan is comfortable with his management team’s strategy.
“If you want to last long in this career you’ve got to make the right moves at the right time and if it takes a little bit of time, so be it,” he said.[pullquote]Ricardo’s not one of these guys that you have to drive to the gym,” Nelson said. “He has a big heart. This kid wants to be a champion and I think he will be…”[/pullquote]
Nelson said Lucio-Galvan has the looks and personality of a young Oscar De La Hoya but the ring technique of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini.
“He has that relentless style,” Nelson said. “Just smothers his opponent.”
Lucio-Galvan remained near his fighting weight by working out every day and sparring two or three times a week at a downtown gym, the University of Nevada, Reno campus and at the Carson City Boxing Club. The 5-foot-7 fighter is scheduled to remain in the 126-pound featherweight class for his April 25 fight.
“Ricardo’s not one of these guys that you have to drive to the gym,” Nelson said. “He has a big heart. This kid wants to be a champion and I think he will be. I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen. I want to guide his career in the right manner where I move him up the ranks, and once he gets to a certain point, he won’t be able to be ignored. He’ll have to get the right fights.”
Dad’s advice: ‘School comes before anything’
In the meanwhile, Lucio-Galvan has been piling up college units. He is in his third year of college.
“It’s getting harder because they are upper level classes,” he said. “My dad always taught me school comes before anything. As long as I have school and boxing, I’ll be set for a good career,” he said. “I will make sure to protect myself at all times academically and professionally.”
The young boxer pointed to academic role models as former heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko, who has a Ph.D, Joey Gilbert, a former middleweight contender who is a Nevada graduate and criminal defense lawyer in Reno, and Juan Manuel Marquez, who finished school and worked as an accountant before adding up championship belts in four weight classes.
Lucio-Galvan is friends with fellow student Jordan Caroline, who has helped lead the school’s basketball team to three-straight Mountain West Conference titles.
“The hype is really contagious,” Lucio-Galvan said. “If you’re not a big fan, you will turn into one.”
While Northern Nevada is buzzing about its basketball team, the boxing world may soon take note of the “Biggest Little” boxing prospect.
‘Boom Boom’ Mancini is watching
Mancini already knows about Lucio-Galvan.
“Ray called me,” Nelson said. “He somehow heard through the grapevine about Ricardo and he wanted to know how I felt about him. He wants to put him on his (Facebook and YouTube) show ‘Ray’s Boom Boom Room.’ ”
“Once Ricardo gets (his record) past 10 and 0 things should start moving even faster. We need to put him out there where everybody sees him because this kid is a crowd pleaser in every way. I’d like to see him fighting for a championship within four years.”[pullquote]Ricardo will take on anybody and he has confidence in himself that he can beat anybody.”[/pullquote]
Tickets are $30 general admission and $60 for ringside seats for the April 25 boxing card presented by Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions. Lucio-Galvan also will sell tickets. It will be televised on UFC Fight Pass.
The card’s most notable boxer is former NABA – USA Lightweight champion Demond “Body Shot” Brock, 13-4. He is making a comeback after losing by TKO 8 to Ivan Redkach on Jan. 28, 2017.
The rest of the card is filled with undefeated prospects who will face yet-to-be-announced opponents: middleweight Connor Coyle, super featherweight Antonio “Bang” Williams, middleweight Arman Rysbek and super welterweight Mekhrubon Sanginov.
Lucio-Galvan, 2-0 with 2 knockouts, will fight a four-round bout. As it was for his first two fights, Lucio-Galvan’s cornermen will be Carson City trainer Francisco Peralta and father Ricardo Lucio. The plan for the young fighter to advance to six- and eight-round fights in the next few years.
“After that the sky’s the limit,” Nelson said. “He has more guts than anybody should really have. Ricardo will take on anybody and he has confidence in himself that he can beat anybody. But at this point in his career, he’s (still) a young kid.”
— Tim Parsons