Boxing

Meet the 14-year-old girl training to be an Olympic boxer

Rising star Chantel Navarro comes from a long line of professional boxers

Chantel Navarro is an unusually determined and disciplined 14-year-old. For the past two years, she has been training six days a week with her father, former professional boxer Ignacio Navarro, at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club in East Los Angeles. And she trains a full seven days a week when a tournament is approaching. Every day, her father picks her up from school and they head to the gym. She fits in homework after her training. That determination has been paying off, as she’s won nine of her 12 matches and is a two-time national champion.

Chantel comes from a long line of boxers. Her uncle, José Navarro, competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Another uncle, Carlos, is a former professional boxer who was poised to compete in the 1996 Summer Olympics but turned pro instead.

The entire Navarro family supports one another’s goals, with Ignacio Navarro training Chantel while her mother, Michelle Navarro, takes her three sisters, who all play competitive soccer, to their practices and games. And with her family’s Olympic pedigree, Chantel could be poised for a run at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Chantel Navarro, 14, sits with her father, Ignacio Navarro, and their dog Chiquis in their home in Glendale, California, on April 20. Ignacio Navarro said he had reservations when he first started training Chantel: “I was a little nervous about it. This is boxing. People are trying to hit you in the face. It’s a combat sport.”

Left: Chantel Navarro (right) runs around with her sisters Pearl (left) and Michelle outside their home in Glendale, California. Right: Chantel (right) plays soccer with her sisters Lailah (left) and Michelle outside their home.

From left to right: Chantel Navarro relaxes with her sisters Pearl, Lailah and Michelle in their Glendale, California, home.

Ignacio Navarro picks up his daughter Chantel from school in Glendale, California, to drive her to training.

Chantel Navarro (center) walks home with her father (left) and sister Michelle (right) after school.

“I didn’t choose boxing, boxing chose me.”

Chantel Navarro trains at Jaxon Boxing Gym in South Central Los Angeles on March 31. “I’m the first female in my family to pursue boxing after my dad and my uncles. I feel like we’re getting more respect. It is traditionally a male sport, but females, they have the same ability that males have. They’re putting the same risk when they step into the ring.”

Chantel Navarro trains at Jaxon Boxing Gym in South Central Los Angeles on March 31.

“I’m here to box. This is my passion, this is where my heart is.”

Chantel Navarro poses for a photo after training at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club in East Los Angeles on April 24. “I’m here to box. This is my passion, this is where my heart is.”

Chantel Navarro comes from a long line of boxers. Her uncle Jose competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and another uncle, Carlos, was poised to compete in the 1996 Games but turned pro instead. “I didn’t choose boxing, boxing chose me,” Chantel said.

Ignacio Navarro says of training his daughter Chantel: “The way I train female boxers is the exact same way I’d train a male boxer. There’s still punches being thrown. They have to put just as much work, and it’s no different for my daughter.”

Chantel Navarro stretches before training at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club gym in East Los Angeles on April 24. For the past two years she has trained six days a week with her father, and she trains a full seven days a week when a tournament is approaching.

Chantel Navarro trains with her father, Ignacio, at Jaxon Boxing Gym in South Central Los Angeles on March 31. “I am very proud of her. My hopes for this is that [Chantel] enjoys it, that she enjoys it as much as she can,” Ignacio Navarro said.

This Story Tagged: Boxing Latinx Los Angeles Olympics