Bravo: Olympic dream come true |

Bravo: Olympic dream come true

Steve Yingling

Arnulfo Bravo’s boyhood dream was to box in the Summer Olympics.

The former South Lake Tahoe resident’s adolescent pursuit very nearly came true in 1996. Bravo rose quickly in the amateur ranks and handed Floyd Mayweather Jr. his first defeat as an amatuer in 1995.

But an Olympic invitation eluded him, that is until this month.

Bravo is training power-punching American Shawn Estrada in Beijing. Estrada of East Los Angeles is competing in the 69-75 kilogram division.

Their Olympic debut was successful on Saturday as Estrada decisively outpointed Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna of Argentina 10-2 to advance to the round of 16. Estrada’s next fight is scheduled for today.

“He did say it feels better to watch his pupil than if if he himself had made teh ’96 Games,” said local pro boxer Simon Ruvalcaba, a close friend of Bravo’s.

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Bravo was a 1995 U.S. Amateur flyweight champion and after not making the Olympic team, turned pro. He fought six pro bouts, winning three of them.

Before departing for the Olympic Games, Bravo told the Steamboat Pilot & Today in Steamboat Springs, Colo., that Estrada has a promising future ahead of him in the pro ranks.

“One thing that stood out is, he could box, and he’s a puncher. He can knock you out with either hand,” Bravo said. “We’re looking for him as a professional. In the pro game, he’d be really good. The best amateurs, the Cubans, all they do is train to score points. They’re keeping it 1-2-3. They really train for the computers.”